Worthington Industries launched Transformation 2.0 (T2.0), an effort to build on the successes of our first Transformation by employing Lean principles and accelerating change through rapid improvement events called “kaizens.”
Before any kaizen can take place, pre-work is completed to gather data, identify areas for improvement and pinpoint activities to experiment or “trystorm” new ways to perform work. It’s during the week-long events that employees get to conduct rapid experiments, and successes are implemented as standard work.
At each kaizen, it’s all hands on deck, from senior leadership to employees in each area impacted by the process. You’ve got decision-making power and knowledge experts together making things happen. That’s what makes T2.0 so successful.
T 2.0 in Action: Westerville, Ohio
With the help of Transformation 2.0, Worthington’s Pressure Cylinders manufacturing facility in Westerville, Ohio has made impressive strides in efficiency gains. Kaizen events focused on quality control testing and attachment welding, provide a look into the T2.0 process.
Quality Control Testing Kaizen
One out of every 200, 20-pound propane tanks manufactured is sent for quality control destructive testing. Before starting this kaizen, destructive testing took up to two and a half hours to complete. At the same time, the tanks have a window of approximately 20 minutes before they reach the paint line. Once painted, any defects found can no longer be fixed and must be scrapped. The goal with this event was to shrink testing lead time to less than 20 minutes to eliminate unnecessary scrap.
After digging into the data, the team found that the majority of failures occurred during one specific test. Simply moving that test first, shaved off significant time. “By just changing the order of the tests, the team could identify the majority of failures within the first nine minutes,” said Transformation Manager Matt Keener.
Through another rapid experiment around pressure testing, where tanks are filled with water and then drained, the team found the draining process was a bottleneck. By developing a part to drain the tanks faster, they cut that process time by 92 percent.
In total, the team met their goal, reducing quality control testing to under 20 minutes, an 86 percent improvement.
Attachment Welding Kaizen
Data also showed that attachment welding, where a collar and foot ring are welded to each tank, accounted for the highest number of touches in the facility. Their goal was to cut that number by more than 60 percent.
“As we took a closer look, we saw there was a lot of variation in the way operators performed their work,” said Production Supervisor Lou Saggio. To eliminate the variation, the team measured and identified the range of motion for weld guns that consistently produced the best results. Then, they retrofitted the weld guns to those fixed parameters, allowing operators to produce repeatable results.
Patch Welder Wally Williamson, “I see the difference in the events we do. Here, all the rework comes to me, so if there’s less coming to me … you know it is working.” With these changes, they surpassed their goal, cutting the number of touches by 80 percent.
“I think the biggest impact from 2.0 is we have ownership over the process. We’ve invested seven months [so far] into the process and it will pay off for years to come,” said Operations Manager Jeff Nelson. “It’s paying dividends in every area of the business.”