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Using Lego to boost labour productivity

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Hampshire-based Lean business specialists, Fedden USP, have a whole host of items to hand to deliver Lean training in their workshops, but who would guess that Lego was one of them?

Back in 1932 when the Lego company was formed, Lego bricks were intended to help with child growth and development to stimulate imagination and the emergence of ideas and creative expression. Their products were based on the philosophy of learning and development through play and this philosophy still applies today as Lego can be used to train businesses in Lean working to help boost productivity and help business growth.

A Lego game can be played with any business that is heavily reliant on processes to achieve success and across a wide range of industries including manufacturing, engineering and horticulture, to name just three.

Fedden USP recently used Lego to simulate a horticulture business at the first AHDB Strategic SmartHort Centre workshop held at Cambridgeshire plant propagators Volmary and the results were very impressive.

The exercise demonstrated some of the key principles of Lean, including the identification and elimination of process waste and a ‘waste walk’ to identify ways of improving the process flow. The game also introduced Kanban systems to help pull the value through by making the supply chain more efficient and it demonstrated the use of continuous improvement techniques to identify ways of fine tuning the process. The simulated production lead time improved by almost 70% and the productivity per person increased by 333%.

Although this was just a game, it also helped to demonstrate how small changes to a process to reduce waste can have a significant impact.

Neil Fedden, owner and Managing Consultant at Fedden USP, said: “LEAN isn’t just about seismic shifts or completely overhauling your operation, it’s also about lots of small incremental improvements across the whole operation. It’s about understanding where the true value is, that is what your customer is willing to pay for. Everything else in your process could be considered waste and LEAN helps you to reduce that through small changes.”

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