AccentHansen going lean

In late 2011, the AccentHansen management team identified the need to improve its processes throughout the company.

After researching what Lean techniques can do to improve a business, AccentHansen embarked on a journey to reposition the company to be the UK's leading steel and glass door manufacturer, offering reduced lead times and improved service levels.

Lean is seen as a philosophy and not a system or technique, as it offers the scope to continually develop the company, its processes and more importantly, it harnesses the minds of all the employees within the business by encouraging them to participate in making improvements in their areas of responsibility.
The first stage was a reorganisation of the production processes to create flow within the business in line with customer demand. Value stream mapping was undertaken of the processes in both the production and administration areas, which have resulted in many improvements being identified and implemented.

Key achievements made to date are:-
- On-time deliveries have dramatically improved
- Production capacity has increased
- Average order lead times have been cut
- Set-up times and batch sizes have been reduced
- Total inventory has also been reduced

One third of the AccentHansen building at Middleton has been freed up improving the production flow which has allowed the relocation of the glass lamination line for a sister company.

Using Lean production techniques has made significant improvements. Focusing on eliminating waste has resulted in a reduction of labour, materials and time used to produce products, which in turn has made AccentHansen more effective in meeting their customers needs.

Report by : Ian Whalley, Lean Consultant