Packaging Compliance Labs is committed to maintaining short lead times and quick turnaround for all projects, no matter how big or small.
We recently demonstrated that commitment through an acquisition of an additional 5,000 sq ft of space that effectively doubles the laboratory’s footprint. The additional space allows room to grow, and several new pieces of equipment, including two accelerated aging chambers, a new vibration table, and new compression and drop testers, are scheduled to land within the next month. We also recently added two talented team members to our technical staff to help keep up with growing demand.
Our Blank Canvas—So Exciting!
New Laboratory Space New Office Space
Our journey of Continuous Improvement doesn’t end there. As we grow, our team routinely identifies pain points in our daily operations that deserve attention. This isn’t a negative, we view the proactive identification of pain points as opportunities to strengthen our processes and make work easier, and more fun. One topic that recently came up was inefficiency in our receiving process.
This is where 3P came into play.
3P is a lean technique that stands for Production Preparation Process – the goal with a 3P event is to design a process in the “least-waste way”. Since we knew that our Receiving station was going to be relocated to our new floorspace next door, the 3P method allowed us to view Receiving as a blank canvas. Stepping out of the preconceived confines of our existing layout to come up with something new and better was a great opportunity.
To start the event, we came up with a defined scope of work and clear definition of the “outcome” that we wanted to achieve. With any lean project, adding specific targets and quantifying problems and improvements is important. We then assembled a cross-functional team that could view Receiving from different perspectives.
As a team, we then went out back and walked our new receiving space. We used tape on the floor, empty boxes to represent workstations, carts, and diagrams to map out a vision for the layout. The team got resourceful to setup a simulated Receiving process that helped bring thoughts to action. We stepped through the process from beginning to end multiple times, each time bringing a simulated set of boxes through the different segments of Receiving, which include incoming inspection, photos, weighing and measuring, labeling, preparation, and queuing. Each time, we recognized new ways to approach the process that helped to lean it out, making it easier, faster, and more accurate.
Example Swim Lane Diagram to Map Process
A sign of any good event is the feeling of excitement from the team about implementing and using proposed changes. We eagerly wrote down the new process, updated our floor layout diagrams, and assigned action items. Outcomes included the introduction of designated drop off zones for UPS/Fedex, a new weighing and measuring station, rolling conveyors to feed boxes to the technician, dedicated lanes for material, and changes to paperwork. We also pulled in new activities to Receiving that would otherwise slow down later activities (such as marking box sides for transit simulation and calculating target compressive loads).
With the paint currently drying in our new laboratory expansion, we look forward to wasting no time and fully implementing the new process this week!
At the end of the day, what matters most to our clients is getting our projects done quickly, accurately, and reliably. This successful 3P event and other Kaizen events in the pipeline ensure our continued focus on our customers’ definition of value. Three cheers for 3P!