“Quality . . . is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.” ~ Peter Drucker
“At Saddle Creek, we measure our success by the quality and value we give our customers. We are always seeking out new ways to help our customers control costs, increase productivity and improve service,” says Rob Pericht, Saddle Creek senior vice president, customer solutions and operations development. “Leveraging the combined power of Lean and Six Sigma helps us to deliver.”
Lean reduces waste through process improvements while Six Sigma helps to prevent defects by problem solving. Used in tandem, the methodologies deliver significant results. To date, the company’s Lean Six Sigma projects have resulted in significant savings for customers.
Lean Six Sigma is a core strategic initiative for Saddle Creek. The company strives to have a Lean Six Sigma certified Green Belt at each of its 43 locations around the country as well as Black Belt engineers located regionally. The company provides Lean Six Sigma certified training for hourly and exempt associates.
New Black Belt Puts Lean Six Sigma to Work for Customer
Last week, Saddle Creek recognized the certification of the company’s newest Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Tony Viguerie, Manager of Distribution in Hattiesberg, Miss., was proud to participate in the company’s certification program.
As part of the certification process, Viguerie led a Lean Six Sigma project which helped one of Saddle Creek’s top customers achieve a significant increase in productivity. Time observation studies and analysis of the receiving and put-away process identified an opportunity to improve the slotting process. Moving incoming volume closer to the docks and employing optimal handling techniques would allow products to be put away more quickly. Establishing standards for transporting and handling helped to ensure consistent performance and reduce variation in the process. Implementing the recommended changes increased slotter productivity by seven pallets per hour which is nearly 2,000 hours per year in Hattiesburg.
A basic skills checklist, visual aids, and training aids enable associates to learn the new standards for successful project implementation. Documenting all analysis and required data allows the project to be replicated at other facilities.
Over the next few months, the process improvement will be implemented at three of the customer’s other distribution centers around the country for an additional impact of over 6,600 payroll hours annually.