Engineering firm’s efficiency scheme

Boost for firm: DavyMarkham's Prince of Wales Road factory, where the Japanese 5S workplace organisation programme is helping to boost efficiency as well as keep everything spick and span.

Boost for firm: DavyMarkham's Prince of Wales Road factory, where the Japanese 5S workplace organisation programme is helping to boost efficiency as well as keep everything spick and span.

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HEAVY engineering company DavyMarkham is targeting a 10 per cent improvement in manufacturing efficiency after introducing the Japanese ‘5S’ programme at its Sheffield plant.

The 5S workplace organisation programme is being introduced throughout the Darnall-based company’s production departments and workshop to boost capacity as well as efficiency and is already having an effect, according to continuous improvement manager Peter Cross.

“It has helped speed up the work we do and minimise time wasted searching for tools and equipment,” said Mr Cross.

“This helps the company complete projects to schedule and secure the future work load. It has also been a great way for us to review and maintain standards.

“Implementing this programme caused a significant change in culture for staff to begin with but it has been widely embraced throughout the company. Staff are more positive about the effect it has on their working environment, the benefits on health and safety and proficiency.”

DavyMarkham says the process can take up to six weeks to complete when it involves the company’s largest and most complex machinery, which include enormous machine tools that are so big a man could walk through them.

As part of the programme, mechanical maintenance supervisor Dave Bacon has designed and made a welding boom work station which lifts all electrical cables and air lines off the fabrication shop floor, creating a much tidier and safer working environment.

Meanwhile, Peter Cross has introduced a ‘Robocrib’ electronic dispenser which monitors and controls the materials staff use more efficiently.

In Japanese, 5S stands for Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke, five words which roughly translate as Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardise and Sustain. The 5s programme begins with sorting through working areas to identify essential tools and equipment and creating an optimum working system which maximises efficiency.

Set in order involves labelling and storing the essential tools in a way that promotes a safe and efficient working, while the ‘shine’ element is designed to minimise spills, leaks and untidiness.

The process is then standardised throughout workshop areas and sustained by workers spending five minutes a day cleaning and tidying up.

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