Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, believes that “Building an exceptional company is the result of building exceptional teams with exceptional people.” Today continues a series of articles profiling Team 1 Plastics’ teams – its Departments. Meet the Assembly Department.
Name of Department: Assembly Department
Team 1 Plastics’ Assembly Department consist of seven part-time Assembly Assistants and two full-time Captains. The department is divided into two shifts. It operates 16 hours a day on Mondays through Thursdays, six hours on Sundays, and eight on Fridays. Its key roles are to sort parts for quality control and to create light assemblies, using at least one plastic part that is manufactured by Team 1.
How does your Department support Team 1’s Customers? “Our department supports Team 1’s customers with the quality parts that we sort and assemble,” said Shelley Lewis, Lead Assembly Captain. She added that the assemblies add “value to the parts. We supply the customers with something extra that they might not have the capability or resources to produce at their facilities.” And ensuring that the customer receives quality parts is a vital piece of the Assembly Department. Team Members sort individual parts manufactured by Team 1, deciding if the part is “good or bad, looking for contamination, trimming gates and flash, and rejecting bad parts.”
How does your Department support Team 1? Ensuring quality parts is the major way that the Assembly Department supports Team 1. Lewis believes that through the sorting process, the Assembly Assistants “get to know the quality of the part even better than those on the Production floor.”
Describe a typical work day in your Department. For the Assembly Assistants, a typical work day is either sorting parts or operating an assembly machine. The team members rotate through the different jobs. “If you’re on the float stalk machine on Monday,“ Lewis said, “you’re probably not going to be on it tomorrow, but you might be back running it on Thursday.” Lewis said that she reviews what parts need to be shipped out each day to determine the priority of the work assignments, trying to keep at least a week’s worth of assemblies from each job in inventory whenever possible.
Share an example of a problem/challenge that your Department encountered and how you solved it. Lewis told of the challenge that the department faced when the Float Stalk assembly job was about to undergo a change in the length of the float stalk. This change meant that the machine used to assemble the float stalk had to be shipped out to be reconfigured and recalibrated for the smaller dimensions. Before it could be shipped out, the Assembly Department had to complete all of the assemblies using the current float stalk parts in inventory. The challenge was that there were not enough work hours available to complete all the assemblies before the machine was scheduled to leave Team 1. “On Monday, we’re trying to calculate everything out. We had until Friday to get all of the assemblies done,” Lewis said. “We realized that we were not going to finish the work in time.”
The solution was to run a third shift – something that the Assembly Department had never done. “One of the Captains went to third shift, and we had an operator volunteer to work on third shift for as long as it took to get the parts out. We ran non-stop on first, second, and third shifts, and we were able to get all the assemblies completed by Thursday night so the machine could go out on Friday.”
What is One Noteworthy Accomplishment by your Department in the recent past? Lewis said that in 2015, the Assembly Department began two new assembly jobs. One job uses the frame machine. The other job uses a hot plate welding machine. Lewis said that the assembly job on the frame machine is especially difficult for operators to learn. “We really have to work with our team members to train them to be able to put the two pieces of paper in the frame in the exact way. The bottom paper has to be just right.”
Lewis proudly stated that in the almost three years that Team 1 has been doing these two assemblies, not one of the assemblies has ever been rejected by the customer.
What are the Current Goals for your Department? Continuing to meet quotas is the current goal of the Assembly Department. Lewis said that each assembly job has its own quota. For example, it may take two hours for the assembly job on the hot plate welding machine to fill a tasket while an assembly on the frame machine only takes 30 minutes to fill the same size tasket. “The Team Members strive to meet the quotas, sometimes even holding competitions among themselves,” Lewis said, “And if they don’t meet a quota, they want to know why.” Lewis added, “I have an excellent team. They all know their jobs. They know how to do them with little or no supervision.”
What does your Department take pride in? “Getting the parts out to the customer” is a source of pride for the Assembly Department. Lewis shared an example from that day. “The parts are currently running on the Production floor. We are almost caught up to the press in sorting the parts, and assembling them. We really take pride in getting the customers’ parts out the door without being behind. If that means we come in early or we stay late, everybody pitches in and helps.”
Department’s Random Poll: What’s Your Favorite Restaurant Type?
2 Home cooking at Home
3 Other: Steaks