As we continue down the Lean manufacturing path, the executive leadership team realized that in order to add value, we needed to remove a lot of old stuff. Following two smaller, and quite successful, clean-ups on the Ranch Hand floor and the C&C Wire Forming area, the executive team decided to take big action. And Operation Clean Sweep was born.
Monday, June 4th, was a day of reckoning for Kaspar Manufacturing. This was the very first campus-wide clean up to ever take place. Some areas here at Kaspar Companies have not been touched in over 50 years. Original tools that have not been used since the Wire Works days were found in bins covered in old dirt. Boxes of paperwork, folders and files had been sitting in storage for decades and hundreds of stacks of cardboard boxes in the shipping area were covered in dust. Tiny trays full of unused screws, nails and “what the heck is this for?” widgets needed attention. In fact, entire pieces of machinery were relegated to dump bins, luckily large enough to hold it all. The task was enormous, and according to Jason Kaspar during the morning kick off meeting, “It’s our first and hopefully it will be our last, because the idea is that we do a clean sweep and then maintain. The whole reason behind this, at the end of the day, is to make our lives easier.”
Following some motivational speeches and several boxes of energy inducing donuts and large containers of coffee, Kaspar Manufacturing employees clad in blue Clean Sweep shirts put on their gloves and glasses and hit their designated work stations. Sweeping, hauling, carting; lots of pushing, pulling, tossing and evicting of a few spiders led to collecting 47.25 tons of trash made up of carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminum. And maybe you’re wondering, what is 47.25 tons? One way of visualizing 47.25 tons is to imagine the size of seven and one quarter adult African elephants. This gentle giant is estimated to top out at 13,000 pounds or six and a half tons. That’s a lot of pachyderm and certainly an impressive amount of trash. With 102 participants we also managed to eat approximately 192 donuts, drink about 100 cups of coffee and stayed hydrated with about 400 bottles of water, juice and Gatorade.
Stephen Bindus wrapped up the day by thanking the whole team for their efforts, admitting that, “We still have more to do; it isn’t over but we gained ground and we can’t lose that ground.” And speaking of ground, the team managed to tackle and clean 194,754 square feet of it during Clean Sweep.
The mood was hopeful and the looks on those tired faces expressed satisfaction. The takeaways from Operation Clean Sweep ranged from anticipation and worry to renewal and accomplishment, a reward in the form of a token to Howard’s, and a more pleasant work environment where people can thrive.