Dublin Lean Network News

Lean at Seating Matters

By March 21, 2022 No Comments

The event

This month, we welcomed Ryan Tierney, Director of Seating Matters, Limavady, NI to talk to us about Lean in his company.  He works in Operations and Manufacturing within the company that he now owns and manages with his two brothers.  Ryan is really passionate about Lean and it showed in his inspirational presentation.

Press play to view the webinar recording or read on for a short summary.

Company background

Occupational Therapist, Martina Tierney, created the first Seating Matters chairs to meet the specific needs of her patients with complex needs and stress injuries.

Martina observed the significant impacts that unsafe seating could have on health outcomes throughout her 30-year career working with patients.  As a result, she developed chairs to meet their clinical and functional needs.  After the findings of a clinical research trial proved that Seating Matters chairs reduced pressure injuries, falls, and caregiver injuries, demand for Seating Matters products increased globally.

However, in 2016 Ryan came home from work one day frustrated because the business wasn’t running the way he wanted it to.  They had a lot of production issues, many defects, staffing problems and it was a very stressful work environment.  Ryan then shared some of the photos from the factory and as he said himself, it was very disorganised with too many problems and overproduction.

One evening, at his kitchen table he started to search on his iPad for “how to manage production”, “how to run a factory”, “how to increase efficiency”, “how to reduce stress in the workplace”.  Ryan knew there was a better way and eventually came across Paul Akers’ ‘Fastcap Lean Tour’. For him, being exposed to this new way of thinking was a light bulb moment.

Instead of complex jargon, flowcharts, and teachings, Paul Akers simplifies the whole Lean approach.

  • Paul simplifies everything about waste–muda (and the eight wastes), muri, and mura–to “fix what bugs you.”
  • Next, he encourages his employees to make a 2-second improvement every day (hence 2 Second Lean).
  • With engaging daily morning meetings, he makes it all sustainable and simple for everyone in the organisation.
  • On top of that, he discovered the unexpected effectiveness of using video to empower employees and dramatically accelerate results.

After discovering ‘2 Second Lean,’ Ryan returned to work the next day and announced to their entire workforce that they would begin implementing Lean in the business.

Continuous Improvement is not an event – it is a lifestyle

Ryan Tierney

Ryan and his team view Lean as a method for removing non-value added activities from a process in order to add more value to their customers.

As a result, they established a culture of continuous improvement.  This means that they constantly improve their products and services in order to provide the best service and clinically excellent products to as many patients as possible around the world.

How did they Change their Company Mindset?

Ryan followed Paul’s advice and began by implementing the following actions on a daily basis.  First of all, they see waste everywhere.  Next, they are encouraged to continuously improve something every day.  Finally, they take before and after videos which are shared on their company’s whatsapp group.  This shows the contrast to what was done and what has now changed.  At the same time, he made Lean so much fun and easy that everyone can do it every day.

Their Daily KATA

But, how does this it actually work in practice?  According to Ryan, they start every day with a 20 minute meeting from 7.55am to 8.15am.  Each of their 52 employees chairs the meeting each day.  He said that the key to their meetings is learning.  Every day, they focus on learning about a Lean concept such as waste or watch a video from Toyota.

This is then followed by allowing each team member to do 30 minutes of improvement tasks.  He said that he is often asked how can they afford to allow 52 people not to work for the first 30 minutes of each day.  His reply is “how can we afford not to?”  Since implementing Lean at Seating Matters, their results have been impressive.  What takes their competitors 6 to 12 weeks to produce a chair, only takes them 3 weeks.  In fact, they produce a chair every 26 minutes.  In addition, they now have a waiting list of people wanting to work at this highly successful organisation.

Seating Matters is now regarded as a model of world-class Lean thinkers.  They regularly welcome site visits from other companies wanting to pursue Lean as a strategy for operational excellence.  Although they are booked up until October 2022, you can request a tour at https://www.leanmadesimple.com/request-a-tour

“To Activate Others You Must Be Enthusiastic Yourself”

Next Event – Effective Meetings at Marco Beverage Systems

Our next webinar is on 21st April at 10am and will be led by Adam Behan (Lean Practitioner, Coach & Engineer) from Marco Beverage Systems.  Based in Sandyford, Dublin 18, Marco Beverage Systems designs, manufactures, sells, and supports water systems and coffee brewers.

Meetings can be an overlooked source of waste in the workplace. They frequently begin late, end late, and lack an agenda, with meeting notes and action items not distributed to attendees on time and not reviewed before the next meeting.

With these challenges in mind, Marco Beverage Systems decided to implement Lean to change the way they ran their meetings. Adam Behan, Marco’s Lean Leader, spearheaded this initiative. As a result, the effectiveness of all meetings across the business has significantly improved.

During this webinar, Adam will discuss what makes an effective meeting.  In addition, he will offer some practical and simple tips for running effective meetings in any organisation.

This blog post was written by Trish Ferguson, Steering Committee Member of the Dublin Lean Network.

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