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A few minutes with: Keith Groves

Fabrication Manager at RDD

Keith joined us in August 2021 following several years at Clements Retail as Acrylics Manager and then in Project Management.

So, Keith, how have you found your first six months at RDD? Really positive! I wasn’t enjoying Project Management at the end of my last role and so I joined RDD to get back to what I know best. My passion is for trying to make things better, smoothing them through improved processes and understanding people’s strengths and weaknesses. RDD offered me a great opportunity and team to work with. I feel my ideas are listened to, and we’ve put many of them into practice already. I’ve been well received by the team, who in turn are receptive to the changes I’ve introduced. For example, we’ve developed colour coding for items throughout the fabrication department which has meant we can locate parts, cartons and products without having to pick out printed part numbers. This has made collation of parts/product much smoother, saving time making the process more efficient.

We’ve also worked on standardising QC processes which are more involved. This has meant we have less QC but better, updated targets, refined throughout the project. Actioning QC at the right times looks different for each job or volumes but we are confident our new system catches any issues at the right point. You’ve been championing Lean, can you tell us a little more about this? Sure, we’ve added specific elements of Lean process and understanding, applying Lean to make it work for what we do. For me, Lean means having a better view of everything that happens. Everything is visible and traceable. For example, with some processes we’ve managed to reduce two days’ work into six hours by thinking about it a different way. Increasing these internal efficiencies increases capacity in the department and allows work to flow through smoothly. Our supervisors know their jobs better, and as a result the line better understands their role in each process too. So, you’ve had success with people as well as processes? Yes, I’ve re-established the role of Team Leader so they all approach job in the same way. This standardisation has essentially allowed us to increase the teams’ productivity without increasing the size of each team. We’ve transitioned to using Microsoft Teams to run projects, eliminating the need for a paper trail which means less recycling, and less error. Each job has a board set up to add picture to Teams, showing who is working on the job, what % through the project we are… essentially full transparency of where we are in real time. This allows us to give accurate updates to clients and to maximise our production time.

What’s next? I’d like us to expand on the Lean work we’ve started - pushing it to get everyone on board, thinking about space, and picking further elements of Lean that matter to us.

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