sparks flying from a machine cutting metal

Jensen Metaltech

Training Significantly Reduces Rework

“The results achieved could not have been accomplished in the time frame without the involvement of Manufacture Nevada. The engagement process was swift and the facilitators were flexible in their approach. Significant effort was put into the enabling the process changes to take hold and deliver the results that we sought.”

– Jeff Friedman, General Manager, Jensen MetalTech

The Client

Since 2007, Jensen MetalTech has been producing steel and aluminum access hatches, doors, covers and grates. Their diverse team of 52 employees is located in Sparks, Nevada and includes engineers, welders, machinists, and technicians. Jensen MetalTech serves the electric, water, gas and telecommunication industries with products including: electric distribution and transmission pullboxes, manhole, trench, and vault covers and fiber optic pullboxes which are are are approved by many of the leading utility agencies including Nevada Energy and AT&T. Jensen MetalTech will custom build to any specified design or requirement.

The Situation

Rapid growth at the company led to the creation of a workforce that was experiencing high turnover. There was also a significant increase in rework, related to a combination of the turnover and weak control on manufacturing drawings. Additionally, 15% of the workforce had English as a second language. With supervisors receiving only limited basic supervision training from the Nevada Association of Employers and the rest of the workforce receiving no soft skills training at all, action had to be taken to improve retention and reduce rework costs. Jensen decided that by combining the teamwork elements of implementing a company wide 5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain) initiative along with integrating supervisory and coaching skills, improvements could be made in both rework reduction and workforce improvements.

The Solution

Two initiatives were kicked off with Manufacture Nevada, a NIST MEP affiliate. The first initiative addressed 5S, safety, quality and productivity with the goal to engage the workforce in determining how to reorganize the plant. The second initiative was to provide an effective supervisory skills training for six team leaders with the intention that team leaders would be more effective in communicating job expectations and work-related responsibilities while acquiring communication techniques and problem-solving skills resulting in enhanced internal communications.

The 5S program was delivered in both English and Spanish to ensure all team members could learn the concepts. Supervisors were given training in communication skills and the 5S principles and implementation. These skills built an environment of respect, collaboration and productivity. Supervisors were given visual communication techniques to effectively communicate job expectations via whiteboards, so that the topic would be understood from a verbal explanation as well as through visual representations of the subject matter. additionally, Kaizen improvement events were developed for each of the three production buildings  rom 5S brainstorming sessions which provided improvement opportunities for all areas of the operations.

Now the plant is organized and clean, with 10 minute visual meetings on white boards contributing to tremendous performance improvement. Many operational metrics are posted in each work center and teams of employees review group and individual performance weekly.

The Results

  • Reduced employee turnover by 50%
  • Reduced rework labor from -20% of all labor time to less than 1%

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