• Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • Columbia Forest Products Lean Team at Work

Columbia Forest Products Lean Team at Work

Columbia Forest Products Lean Team at Work

  • August 29, 2013
  • by lwinkler

Sometimes we’re all curious about what different departments are up to here at Columbia Forest Products and it’s always nice to have a chance to hear about about a department that has been going the extra mile to assist one of our wholesale distributors, as in the case recently with our Lean Systems Department and Bushby Cabinets, who is one of our end-user customers that works through our wholesaler distributors, Dixie Plywood. Bill Duarte, the Director of Lean Systems for Columbia was kind enough to send me the below highlights from their recent visit with Bushby.

logo_0_0_0On August 15, 2013, Dave Abts (CFP VP – Manufacturing), Andy Shaw (CFP – Field Sales Rep) and Bill Duarte (CFP Director – Lean Systems) traveled to Alachua, FL with Gary Dean (Dixie Plywood Sales Rep) to visit with CFP Plywood end user Busby Cabinets (Higher End Custom Cabinet Manufacturer) to discuss Busby’s efforts and opportunities in implementing Lean Manufacturing.  Busby Cabinets is looking for ways to increase production capacity/improve efficiency without having to build/invest in additional buildings and equipment to meet their customer demand.

Over the past few months, Busby has been working with a Lean Consultant, James K. Lewis (Story of a Lean Journey) to help train and implement Lean concepts and tools.  In the meeting, we met with Debbie Busby (Busby Cabinets – Owner), Scott Pfaff (Busby Cabinets – Lean Champion) and a few other Busby Team Members including their lean coordinator.

They first got us up to speed with where they stand in the process.  Basically they are about 3 months into the training process.  They started with some lean overview training and waste identification to get the group understanding the lean philosophy and concepts.  Since then, they’ve conducted some 5S Training/Implementing on the Floor (Receiving Dept.) and are looking to continue with Kaizen events through the rest of the facility.  We were able to see some progress on the plant tour in the Receiving Dept. and we encouraged them to continue the training and implementing improvements throughout the rest of the facility.  It is what’s best for Busby.

They also expressed some concerns/challenges with what they had done so far.  Many folks (managers/operators) were not completely comfortable with what they were doing.  Folks were being asked to do things differently and they aren’t convinced it’s going to help.  We assured them that these issues are quite typical, as people in general will struggle with change.  We told them that it will help their implementation to make sure they have alignment with their management/support team.  The Lean Journey they are on will face challenges getting over past work methods and with persistence, these challenges can be overcome.

We were very thankful to Debbie and the Busby team for allowing us to participate and share our experiences with them and hopefully encourage them to stick with it.  In some cases it will seem like the biggest challenge they have ever faced, but the rewards (safer working environment, improved product quality, improved production efficiency and reducing cost) are all there waiting as the improvements are gained.  Over the last 6 years, CFP has seen great improvements as teams in each mill have worked hard to implement improvement projects.  We continue to make improvements and still have a mountain of opportunity in front of us – We look forward to implementing future improvements and being the best supplier possible to our customers.