Friendly Competition Keeps Focus on Fresh Ideas

Continuous improvement is a key area of focus at Saddle Creek. We continually strive to bring our customers innovative ideas for controlling costs, increasing productivity and improving service.

We’ve implemented a variety of initiatives to keep fresh ideas flowing. Our LEAN Leaders competition, for example, helps to generate excitement among associates and keep Saddle Creek’s commitment to quality top of mind.

Saddle Creek Celebrates LEAN Leaders

LEAN Six Sigma is a priority for the company, so the quarterly competition strives to drive LEAN tool usage companywide and engage employees at all levels of the organization. Teams may include hourly workers, salaried associates, and company executives. They can come from any area of the company – maintenance, receiving, customer accounts – and any Saddle Creek location.

Each quarter, a new theme is selected to challenge the teams. For the second quarter of 2017, “root cause analysis” took center stage. Each team worked to identify the cause of a particular problem and the steps necessary to eliminate it so that it won’t recur again or move to another process.

To get to the heart of their issue, each team employed various LEAN tools such as fishbone diagrams, spaghetti diagrams, Pareto analysis and 5 Whys. Winning teams were determined based on their use of these tools and effective collaboration.

“Everyone gets involved and works together to identify actionable ideas for improvements,” says Cyndee DeMellier, Saddle Creek’s Director of Continuous Improvement.

Winning projects run the gamut across all operations. The overarching/common goal is to reduce waste and prevent defects in order to control costs and improve service to the customer. Examples of anticipated results from this quarter’s winners include:

  • Increasing receiving accuracy by reducing discrepancies to <0.014 percent
  • Streamlining administrative tasks to improve productivity, resulting in a reduction of 300 payroll labor hours
  • Reducing the labor time spent on WMS processes by 50 percent to accommodate growth in order volume

“We love to celebrate the top teams, but our customers are the real winners in this competition,” DeMellier says. “One of the winning proposals is already being implemented and starting to reduce costs for the customer.”

To learn more about Saddle Creek’s focus on quality, read our blog on using DMADV for solution design and our whitepaper on quality management in logistics.

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