Founded In 1918, E + R Group is a privately owned world leading equipment engineering company, exporting to locations all over the world. They have built a reputation for innovation in engineering, technology, and process, and are a leading manufacturer of sophisticated roll-to-roll production machinery across several market sectors, including Print, Forming, Vacuum and Coating.

‘The quality of the work they send…and the passion that they all share is second to none’.

– Mark Rosser, Production Manager

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E & R Group’s Challenges

Despite over 100 years of company history, E + R is certainly not standing still, and currently has very exciting growth prospects, with the company involved in several innovative projects with blue chip companies.

This comes with a challenge. Despite several attempts to introduce some Lean tools in the past, previously there hadn’t been a company-wide engagement with Lean behaviours. Problems were often approached reactively and prior attempts to introduce a pro-active approach had not succeeded.  The fire-fighting behaviours added pressure and frustration within the team, and with the rapid growth of the business, there was concern that without introducing change there would be a risk to continue to deliver projects on time and on budget.

Our Assessment

Our onsite assessment revealed a highly skilled and competent workforce with a real passion to support the growth of the business. However, there was also frustrations that things just didn’t always seem to go to plan! We found a production environment that lacked the visual management required to identify whether projects were on or off track. Where there were variances to the plan, it wasn’t always easy to visually identify what countermeasures had been created to mitigate these gaps in performance.

We recommended a combination of engaging and empowering the workforce, combined with implementing highly engaging visual management that drives performance.

We suggested a three-prong approach to deliver this:

  1. Ignite Lean Awareness and engagement with a group of Lean Champions selected from across all departments and tiers of the business to ensure there is a unified and company-wide awareness and understanding of the need of Lean.
  2. Introduce high-impact visual management to support daily meetings that is easily understood by all members of the team and provide a daily understanding of whether we are Winning or Losing and to support the practice of identifying countermeasures to any variances in performance.
  3. Introduce the Lean Champions to the foundational Lean tools and behaviours, including 5S workplace organisation, standard work, and effective daily meeting facilitation using visual management

The Results

In the words of Mark Rosser, Operations Director, ‘To say it was a success is an understatement’. The result of our training programme created a rapid shift in culture from reacting to daily crisis’s, to anticipating risks and teams engaging in their own problem-solving workshops to find solutions before fires broke out. Tangibly, this has resulted in two recent projects, which had some significant challenges, being delivered in full and on time.

However, Mark also adds that the real success is the less tangible change seen in the mindsets of people. Even those who were ‘doubters’ prior to the training have since acknowledged the value of it. Thought processes across teams from all functions involved in the value stream have been transformed to think a whole new way  …a Lean way!

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