About the company
Fläkt Woods is a manufacturer of the highest quality Air Movement products designed for Building and Infrastructure ventilation and Smoke Extract (Fire Safety) applications. With more than one hundred years of industry experience, Fläkt Woods constantly strives towards innovation in the every-changing environment.
Looking for a digital flexible whiteboard solution
Chris Mousley, Manufacturing Improvement Manager, is part of a team that oversees the production shop floor and day-to-day operations at Fläkt Woods.
In the past, one of his many responsibilities included updating the layout and content of the physical white boards which were scattered throughout the factory. After a company-wide survey brought feedback to light, that communication could be improved, Chris thought an obvious first step was moving from physical to digital whiteboards. “There were endless pieces of paper being printed out from daily to weekly activities, and inevitably there was a lot of outdated information,” says Mousley.
One specific communication challenge Fläkt Woods faced was escalating issues quickly and efficiently from the shop floor to the management team.
“When an operator had an issue, they went to their team leader and the team leader wrote it down on the [physical] board. Then the issue would wait until the next morning’s gemba meeting. So, if an issue was found at 10 AM, it would sit there for almost a whole day.”
Mousley and his colleagues started looking into available digital whiteboard software and narrowed the search down to about 5 options. They quickly noticed that most solutions offered either a completely static experience that displayed information well but did not offer any interactivity, or a virtual whiteboard interface that could be written on just like a traditional physical board but wasn’t great for inputting or displaying complex data. “Straight away Mevisio stood out because of the interactivity. It wasn’t just a static board, it could be used to input information, as well as connect with our API,” says Mousley.
To add to that, the ability to escalate issues across different teams and departments, as well as display critical company and site-wide communication dynamically, was of key importance [CM(1] and Mevisio stood out as the all-around best option.
Mousley and several colleagues from the manufacturing team, along with a few members of their IT department, decided to move forward with Mevisio’s developer training course. As they started building out Mevisio to suit their specific needs as an organisation, they prioritised solving for their communication and escalation needs.
Escalating issues, enhancing communication, and building teamwork with Mevisio
One example of functionality they recently built is an issue log for operators to be able to escalate issues to support teams quickly. Any team member can enter an issue. If the issue is on a live production order, it is flagged as “high priority” and the support team can take emergency action to resolve it.
After resolution, the team looks at potential preventative measures to prevent reoccurrence. Then, in their continuous improvement meeting, they drill down into the issue and use an appropriate lean tool to move it through their continuous improvement process, all within Mevisio. Because every delay on a live production issue costs money, a tool like Mevisio, that can monitor and facilitate issue resolution in real time, is incredibly valuable.
COVID-19 has underscored the need for quick, reliable communication and the team at Fläkt Woods was able to meet that need with Mevisio as well. Chris and his colleagues have used the platform to quickly send updates and important safety information to people working on-site and remotely.
Chris also leverages Mevisio in his day-to-day management of the department and, while sharing his screen, explains,
“I know what tasks are happening today and who is responsible for them. We display the status of Andons live on the Functional Excellence Management screens, meaning we can go to the line rather than them com to find us when they encounter issues. And as a team, it has helped us keep track of a lot of complex tasks happening at once. Our day-to-day is very reactive, and then at the same time we’re managing longer projects with capital expenditures.”
On a broader level, Mousley feels that Mevisio has brought a level of transparency, collaboration, and accountability across teams that didn’t exist before. An individual operator can track their suggestion or issue, see it being resolved, or even ask each other for clarification in real time, people have been able to see how they fit better within their team and within the organisation.
“It answered the question, that there is a solution available to take over from the traditional lean gemba walk and visual planning management boards that ticks all the boxes which lean really requires. For me, the future of it all, is in Industry 4.0 and technology is the way forward,” adds Mousley.
In the future, he is excited to iterate on the functionality that they have built in Mevisio and continue to leverage it to improve daily operations.