Our sustainability culture ensures that we always look for ways to improve production standards. In 2016, our parent company NRS International and its manufacturing arm H. Sheikh Noor-ud-Din & Sons implemented a comprehensive lean production regime, which marks our latest step in this journey.
Battling the 3Ms with the 5S
Drawn from Japanese production methods, lean production maximises consumer value while minimising waste in all forms. Collectively, these forms are known as the 3Ms:
- Muda: any activity/process that does not add value e.g. defects and overproduction
- Mura: unevenness, e.g. a stop-start workflow caused by a lack of harmony
- Muri: overburden on employees and processes caused by e.g. lack of training
We seek to eliminate the 3Ms through kaizen – an ethos of continuous improvement – and five systematic steps known as 5S:
- Sort (Seiri): identifying waste, including the red tag activity
- Set-in-order (Seiton): tidying, throwing waste, redesigning processes
- Shine (Seiso): daily cleaning, optimisation of set-in-order changes
- Standardize (Seiketsu): creating standards for all processes, maintain order.
- Sustain (Shitsuke): sustaining all of the above.
Training and restructuring for success
To implement this agenda, a week of training was conducted in September 2016 with a consultant. Broken into thematic modules, this programme introduced senior management across all production units at our Pakistan factory to lean management concepts and techniques.
As of January 2017, all zones have started implementation of lean 5S, beginning with sorting activities. To this end, a ‘red tag ceremony’ was held in December 2016, whereby waste in all forms was clearly demarcated with a label bearing a deadline for elimination.
Implementing and monitoring across the business
Moving forward, we aim to move through 5S systematically over the coming months, beginning with a progression to set-in-order across departments. Progress will be tracked using Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) metrics and incorporated into a sustainability report.