By Tom Kenyon, Department Head – Kaynor Technical High School
For us, Lean is closely examining how we get things done. We then find out where the waste is and make modifications accordingly. In the realm of staying ahead of the game, we add continuous improvement to the mix and will keep looking at ways to improve what we do. In waste removal, sometime we actually need to toss things out. Other times we’re merely trying to save time waste. It’s part of our curriculum. We don’t get to streamline every activity that we have at this time because time is short. But by teaching the basics and by implementing lean skills in many areas of what we do, we are exposing the students to real life situations and enabling them to be most helpful to their future employers.
Hannah, one of the students rotated into a take charge or leadership position shared the following: “We decided to do lean organization at the beginning of school this year. We were charged with a task to implement some lean strategies to our program. Material storage was handled. A lot of the tools that we needed we couldn’t find and we had tools that we didn’t need everywhere instead of the ones we did need, so we decided to change that. We figured out what we needed and what parts of the shop needed to be cleaned and organized first. Then we got ourselves into groups and started taking the stuff we didn’t need and putting it away in a back room and then taking what we did need and organizing it so we could all know where to find what we need.”
One of the current tasks is to analyze which tools are needed for a specific project and bring them all together in one location or container if you will. Being NIMS certified, we decided to take charge of our NIMS Layout project. We took the supplies required for the project, created 5S foam tool organizer boxes and placed and captured the necessary tools into foam slots. Under the slots in the organizer are names of the tools so we have a sense of order and can tell what is missing.
An important part of lean is making sure that once the program is developed it needs to be sustained. Sustainability at the student level can be a greater task than their adult counterparts in industry due to the fact students enjoy the benefits of home living by not always having to sustain their own surroundings. Lean, as in much of our lives, is a continuous improvement.
About the Author:
Tom Kenyon, Department Head
Precision Machining Technology
Kaynor Technical High School
Manufacturing Adjunct Professor NVCC
43 Tompkins St., Waterbury, CT 06708