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Update on Excellence

Visual Workplace 5-S Concepts at Borg-Warner Inc. (Air/Fluid Systems), Dixon, IL
Finding a place for everything, working through chaos to better results.
Ken Trupke

About six years ago, customers dissatisfied with poor on-time delivery (60 percent) and poor quality (2000 ppm) were pulling, or about to pull, substantial amounts of business away f rom Borg - Wa rner Inc. Air/Fluid Systems (BWI), Dixon, IL. Inventory filled nearly every available space, yet material was constantly being expedited to the manufacturing areas. Customers could not get their orders on time from the manufacturer of various solenoids, roll-over valves, secondary seal modules, and other products. The plant had the traditional operating philosophy of batch process with periodic inspections, and testing to verify quality at the end of the production process. Management recognized that “business as usual” would, at best, not provide the kind of growth they desired and at worst, might put them out of business. They realized they needed to do something dramatically different to improve the situation. They also realized that their eff o rts must create “buy-in” among employees and not be perceived as the “program of the month.” They needed to improve and then sustain the improvement efforts, not just push once and then stop. Finally, they knew any efforts would demand substantial time, energy, and money, so they must generate enthusiasm and success early and often.
Simplify the Improvement Process

About Borg-Warner
Located about 100 miles west of Chicago and 50 miles southwest of Rockford, IL, Borg-Warner Incorporated Air/Fluid Systems is a tier-one supplier to the automotive market. Major customers include Ford Motor Company, DaimlerChrysler, and Volkswagen. The plant serves 45 customers encompassing 165 shipping locations worldwide, generating over $50 million in annual sales. The plant utilizes several different main processes to produce its major products. Coil winding and plastic encapsulation are key to producing proportional solenoids, canister purge solenoids, and three-way vacuum solenoids. Plastic injection molding is used to produce roll-over valves and secondary seal modules. Cast iron machining is critical to produced exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valves, air control valves, and air pump check valves. Some of the product assemblies are fully automated; others are assembled manually, often using fixtures and/or automated assembly steps. About 75 percent of the product content is purchased.

Dan Etheridge during a recent AME workshop. The existing BWI Advanced Quality Planning (AQP) team stepped up to facilitate the initiative. The team included staff members from manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering, and quality. Because each person on the team had a full-time job already, no one had the luxury to commit full-time to the project. Long days of after-hours meetings and six- and seven-day work weeks became the norm for the team as they proceeded to dramatically improve the cleanliness and organization of everything inside the facility.
What Is 5-S?

unnecessary items • Straighten — putting necessary items in order for easy access • S c ru b — cleaning everything: tools, equipment, and work areas. Following that, the focus is on keeping “everything in its place:” • S u s t a i n / S t a n d a rd i z e — making separating, straightening, and scru b b i n g routine • Systematize — continually improving 5S performance levels; spreading the concepts and practices throughout the organization.
Separate

As BWI began preparing for its QS-9000 certification in 1995, they were looking for a framework to simplify the improvement process. They selected the Japanese concept of 5-S because, “Once you get housekeeping in place, all other perf o rmance measures follow, ” explained Continuous Improvement Coordinator
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“A place for everything and everything in its place” is a phrase visitors hear from management down to operators at BWI. The phrase summarizes the BWI operational philosophy and provides a framework for their approach to 5-S. The first part of the method is finding “a place for everything:” • S e p a r a t e — sorting and eliminating

BWI had some fun and made some big gains in their first pass at the first step. After initially training everyone in the organization on the 5-S basics, BWI shut down production for one day. Each employee was given four “red tags” which they were required to use to identify “unnecessary” items. It was a bit chaotic, but the results were dramatic.

(Additional information about their VPP activities is featured in a the a rticle. but also substantially to practice 5-S. Operation instructions and visual aids were developed and posted at the workstations or on the equipment. how to do it (instructions. BWI is now 100 percent on time to their customers (although just slightly under that as measured by their own. visual aids).” in this issue of Target. where it’s easy to immediately distinguish what is normal and what is not and where waste is easily recognizable to anyone. It also helps to prevent people from “doing their own thing. “They Shoot for Star Safety Perf o rmance. ISO 14000.” as Koenen put it. more stringent.” Establishing the “habits of discipline” is a prerequisite to continuous improvement. “Variation is the enemy. S t a n d a rdized documentation support s employee cross-training and flexibility. The orderliness of the visual. Kanban production systems were implemented internally and with many suppliers. equipment. Production control “throughput” boards showing production goals and actual production and scrap were placed at workstations. any employee can “red tag” an item anywhere in the workplace. Through continuous improvement and 5-S discipline.Update on Excellence Lynn Koenen. but also the toughest challenge BWI faced. Rockford.) In contrast to the time prior to 5-S. BWI’s plans call for tripling sales over the next three-five years. As he puts it: “How can you have quality if everything isn’t in its place?” Visitors routinely recognize impressive cleanliness. materials). materials. Chrysler Gold Pentastar Award. Those responsible for the area or equipment must make corrections and then post a photo showing the situation “after” next to the “before” photo. including Ford Supe- 37 . we’re training every day. kanban cards). However. Standard pro c e d u res are easily understood and visually clear and any deviation from procedure is readily apparent. B W I ’s visual safety accomplishments have been featured in an article in Occupational Hazards magazine. Koenen confirmed that the empowerment and enthusiasm generated at all levels of the organization made it a small price to pay. In at least one case. Straighten instructions often include space for employee sign-off that cleaning or maintenance work has been performed. an industrial engineer. IL 60090-5863 847/520-3282 www. BWI has a board where photos of unacceptable conditions are posted. They made use of numerous tools such as color-coded containers. at any time. according to Manufacturing Engineering and Quality Manager Paul Turner. and that it was done (actual production and ppm recorded on throughput boards). and QS-9000 registration. BWI employees set out to provide an orderly environment for what they were keeping. BWI was awarded a sizable purchase order as a direct result of positive customer impressions during a site visit. MI. Our goal is to provide consistency so our operators can use their skills and abilities to excel.” Turner asserted during the presentation. The goal is to create a “habit of order. The BWI team agreed that as chaotic as it was on the first “red tag” day.ame. Today. Administrative and engineering offices also are targets for eliminating waste and clutter. Ken Trupke is the general manager at Kalfact Plastics Company. goals and objectives are targeted “only if it makes business sense.” The production team can easily see what needs to be done (production goals. One of the overall goals of the BWI 5-S system. these tools and methods contribute to a “visual workplace. That is hindered by variation. shutting down the entire plant at one time was the best approach. Together. BWI makes use of a 15-minute shift overlap period to provide time for ergonomic exercises and communication. and housekeeping here. according to Fuel Factory Manager Derrick Goodlin. internal definition). they intend to achieve the increased volume without adding to their facility. Koenen explained that of the seven full semi-trailer loads of “unnecessary” items from their first pass. Equipment alarms such as horns and lights were installed or moved to more useful locations. they made only two mistakes! Although the mistakes cost BWI about $40. organization.” Koenen told the group.org BWI has been recognized with numerous certifications and awards. Scrub Every team member agreed that discipline is key. The The BWI team emphasized that the 5-S philosophy is not limited to the production floor. “Like an Olympic athlete. color-coded floor squares. what is needed to do it (tools. 5-S workplace also reduces hazards and raises safety a w a reness. according to Air Factory Manager Steve Kuhn. is to get total employee involvement and ownership with management and engineering in roles of suggesting and supporting. What They’ve Done rior Supplier Award. The red tag causes anyone with an interest in the item or area to discuss its status and generate a disposition. Wheeling. © 2001 AME® For information on reprints. overhead identification signs. Systematize Cleaning instructions and/or preventive maintenance (PM) schedules are at each workstation or posted on the equipment itself to communicate how the area is to be cared for. One unique aspect of the BWI PM system is that operators check their own machines daily. showed a “before” video of the plant and the team shared several anecdotes. The posted instructions and the “check sheet” confirmation are two more visual elements of the BWI 5-S system. Peer pressure is important as employees strive to keep their areas in top condition and continually improve.” according to Turner. and 5-S and the visual approach contribute significantly to this performance level. and shadow boards to identify the proper contents and/or location of tools. Their external ppm is less than two. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognized BWI with Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star status which allows BWO to audit themselves for safety in lieu of formal OSHA inspections. Sustain/Standardize After sorting. contact AME at: 380 West Palatine Road. and equipment.000 to replace.