It’s Friday at 2 p.m., and the weekend will begin in 30 minutes for the 50 or so Clemco welders, assemblers, part handlers and other plant employees who are sitting in the front office’s main conference room.
But this Friday, like every Friday for the past half-year, the manufacturing team meets to screen their latest 2 Second Lean videos.
In a nutshell, 2 Second Lean is a business philosophy that promotes efficiency. It encourages all employees to share ideas that can shave wasted time from production, even if only by two seconds, and then video their ideas.
On a typical Friday, the Clemco manufacturing team watches six to 12 of their co-workers’ videos to see the time-saving ideas they’ve implemented.
Employees have filmed more than 200 videos, most under a minute long, covering topics ranging from:
Reorganizing work areas and shipping bays;
Redesigning work platforms used for reclaimer construction;
Modifying carts so parts don’t fall out;
Altering shelving so pallets easily slide in and out;
Installing designated hooks for hammers, brooms, screwdrivers, hoses, and other tools so workspaces and the shop floor stay uncluttered;
Creating a central location for consumables and welding wire; and
Dozens of other ideas.
“We encourage our associates to find ways to make their jobs easier and more productive,” said Brad Gildehaus, welding supervisor.
“We give them a half hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays to put their ideas into practice,” he explained. “They don’t need approval from me to get to work on an idea, unless it involves a team. Then we meet on Fridays to share what we’ve accomplished.”
“Anything that causes our employees pain, we empower them to make their waste-reduction ideas a reality — and they are coming up with great ideas,” said Robert O’Daniel, metal-fabrication supervisor.
“We’ve been so successful that the engineering and customer service departments are now also running their own 2 Second Lean programs,” he said. We estimate that our employees’ ideas are saving the plant 250 hours a week.”
“That’s like having six more employees on the floor each week,” Gildehaus noted.
Clemco Industries, with nearly 150 employees, has been operating in Washington for nearly three decades. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of air-powered abrasive blast equipment used to clean, deburr, shot peen, remove coatings from, finish, or otherwise improve surfaces being blasted.
Since the mid-1940s, Clemco Industries has built industrial-grade blast equipment for contractors, facility owners, metal fabricators, and manufacturers around the globe, and also offered safety and protection accessories.
Last year the Washington office became Clemco’s global headquarters for all domestic and international operations.