Kaizen process delivers new levels of operational efficiency
Riwal UK has completely reorganised its Sevenoaks depot in Kent, following a process called Kaizen, which is used to continuously improve service efficiency.
The physical transformation of the depot was completed in just five intensive days. Facilities at the depot have been redesigned to make sure Riwal UK can meet rapidly growing demand for its powered access hire services. Riwal used 5S techniques to improve workflow including visual management systems for workplace safety.
Customer benefits expected to be created by the depot improvements include faster turnaround and increased availability of machines, and measurably improved reliability.
An implementation team drawn from across the UK carried out the Kaizen, which involved completely emptying the depot, deep cleaning, resurfacing the floor and walls and reconfiguring all aspects of depot operations. Incredibly, the work was carried out with no disruption to customers.
Mick Ledden, Country Manager for Riwal UK, said: “Kaizen is firmly embedded in the Riwal Way, which creates a standard, repeatable, high-quality approach to customer service anywhere in the world.
“This is critical because our customers are increasingly looking for ways to ensure their supply chains generate maximum value. The transformation achieved at our Kent depot will allow us to match those expectations.
“I’m incredibly proud of the effort everyone put in to making the depot an example of best practice that will set a new standard for powered access hire in the UK.”
Industry leader in national powered access hire and sales
Riwal UK is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of specialist aerial platforms, including ultra booms, and is part of a global powered access sales and hire business with operations in 17 countries including Europe, the Middle East, India and Brazil.
Riwal UK’s strategy is to be the best at what they do: delivering aerial work platforms for working safely at height and providing appropriate training to operators.
Two-stage process transforms working environment
The expansion took place in two parts, beginning with a week-long planning session taking place in June. UK staff worked alongside Janice Roberts, a lean improvement expert from the USA, and Riwal’s continuous improvement lead, Dudley Tjauw, based in the Netherlands.
Steve Skeates, Riwal UK Operations Manager, is the driver of the Riwal Way in the UK. He said: “It is early days, but our engineers have seen immediate improvements in their workflow. They redesigned the depot and the speedbays the way they wanted them according to 5S methodology.
“They visualised themselves working like a surgeon in an operating theatre, with everything they need next to them. It’s a highly efficient way of working.
“Time spent moving around the depot trying to find tools or parts is time wasted. If we can reclaim that time, we have more time to spend on our machines and this means we can process more of them. More machines means more availability, so we can say ‘Yes’ to customers’ requests even with incredibly tight deadlines.”
Continuous improvements reduce inefficiencies
The primary goal of the Kaizen is to identify ways to avoid waste, including time spent waiting on machines, safety losses, inefficient work flows and work-arounds.
All four Riwal depots in the UK will do their own Kaizen to improve efficiency, safety and customer satisfaction at each site.
Mick Ledden said: “Reliability and safety remain our customers’ key value drivers, whether they are in the construction, aerospace, maintenance or broadcasting industries. The ultimate goal of all of this work is to ensure customer satisfaction at every stage of the process.
“We have learned from other Riwal Depots around the world and we are developing an organisational culture here in the UK that sets us apart from other powered access hire companies.
“We continuously measure performance indicators such as machine availability, reliability, on-time delivery/pickup, and safety – all the components that go into great customer service.”
Reconfiguring the depot from the ground up
Steve Skeates said: “Reconfiguring the depot and work processes has been done from the ground up, from resurfacing the floor to create a dust-free environment to building bespoke speedbays and colour-coding work zones.
“Thanks to some brilliant ideas from Riwal colleagues, we have ensured the work flows efficiently throughout the depot from the wash bay, to the initial function check, through maintenance and engineering to a purpose-built staging area next to where the delivery drivers park.
Choosing Riwal as your next supplier
Working with Riwal is as easy and straightforward as possible. Give Riwal a call on 0844 335 2993 to discuss your requirements or email using the contact form.
The Riwal rental fleet includes scissor lifts, telehandlers, articulating boom lifts, telescopic boom lifts and spider lifts from the world’s most reputable manufacturers.
Through Riwal’s highly experienced training division, ALS Safety, Riwal UK is also able to offer IPAF, PASMA and other industry recognised courses.