The following is a preview from the July 2019 issue of The Scoop, the quarterly printed magazine for Dal-Tile team members. The issue will be mailed to team members’ home addresses and posted in PDF format to myMohawk next month.
Gerringer (second from left) and Maria Vasquez, Deb Campbell, Sue Huber and Karen Henry of the Gettysburg Kaizen team accepted their Kaizen Acceleration Award winner banner from Senior Vice President of Manufacturing Operations Dave Baran after presenting their project in Dallas.
As usual, the competition was tight between the Kaizen projects submitted by Dal-Tile’s manufacturing facilities across the country, but it was the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, mosaic plant team who edged ahead and brought home the 2019 Kaizen Acceleration Award this spring.
This annual program recognizes the "best of the best" in process improvement projects within Dal-Tile U.S. manufacturing operations; 2019 marks the first time in the award’s seven-year history that the Gettysburg team claimed top honors (see sidebar).
The Gettysburg Kaizen team’s winning project involved developing a improved certified training program to decrease a common “scuffs and scratches” problem, where tiles are damaged during the production and handling process. Since the launch of the program, the team has seen a 41 percent reduction in scuffs and scratch defects, and customer claims have also gone down.
“The Gettysburg production process is actually split between two plants that are five miles apart, so between that and the nature of the production process, there is a lot more manual handling of product than at other manufacturing locations,” Plant Manager Ryan Gerringer said. “The project addresses an important part of our day-to-day operations and remedies a common defect that comes up through handling and transportation.”
More focused training, less scuffs, more safety
In the new program, trainers first attend a revamped training workshop that reviews proper handling procedures and common problem points. They then move on to train the new press packers, focusing on best practice handling habits geared toward quality and production. Team members are taught how to inspect the tile before it is passed along, and the trainers sign off on each trainee’s knowledge and proficiency to complete the training. This more hands-on approach and more time spent with new team members has also been beneficial to overall training and retention.
“While this project was initially started as a way to improve a defect, the team developed a better training process that has not only helped our press packers but has improved safety, and may even also be helpful for our other plants,” Gerringer said. “I’m proud of what this group accomplished and the great work they put in during months of development and training.”
The Gettysburg Kaizen team traveled to Dallas to present their project to senior leaders. Their visit also included tours of R&D and the Sunnyvale (Clay Rd.) manufacturing plant.
Director of Process Excellence Jesse Hamilton led the judging committee and shared that the many successful projects from throughout the year made it difficult to choose the winner. “This year’s competition and the eventual winner took us in directions that at first glance may not be what we thought,” he said. “Several of the Kaizens required a deeper understanding and more in-depth look at what all was being conveyed, and the projects often had a duality to what they were addressing.
“The wide range of opinion of the judges and how they looked at the results, the value to the company, the team involvement, what was really improved and how it was controlled was evident in the deliberations. Every one of the plants came up in the discussions of who was best.”
The Gettysburg Kaizen Team
- Randy Belcher – Press and Trim Supervisor
- Deb Campbell – 2nd Shift Press Packer
- Kati Garner – 1st Shift Mounting Utility
- Karen Henry – 1st Shift Press Packer
- Sue Huber – 1st Shift Press QA
- Mike Thoman – 2nd Shift Press Maintenance
- Maria Vasquez – 1st Shift Press Packer
At the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, mosaic plant, team members Karen Henry (at right) and Karen Bowers review press safety procedures as part of signifcant process improvements implemented at the plant and honored with this year’s Dal-Tile Kaizen Acceleration Award.
Dal-Tile Gettysburg team member Karen Henry observes teammate Karen Bowers handling mosaic tiles as part of the trainer sign off within the process improvement.
About the Kaizen Acceleration Award
Kaizen allows us to make quick, impactful changes that have the potential to be replicated at our other locations. This is the seventh year for this special Dal-Tile award program, which honors the best Kaizen project based on project focus, results, difficulty, creativity, clarity, team member involvement and overall presentation.
Each U.S. plant strives to complete one new Kaizen project a month and selects one of its best projects to be considered for the award. Most Kaizen projects are completed in about a week and include follow-up reviews in the first 45 days after completion (Dal-Tile Mexico is also extensively utilizing Kaizen).
Dal-Tile Kaizen Acceleration Award Winners:
- 2013: Lewisport
- 2014: El Paso
- 2015: Muskogee
- 2016: Fayette
- 2017: Florence
- 2018: Fayette
- 2019: Gettysburg
Can't see the comments? It may be your browser. Click here to find out more.