Standardising Work for Freight Container Repairs

Background

A port logistics support company, specialising in the inspection, repair and maintenance of freight shipping containers underwent rapid expansion over a six-month period. This resulted in a fourfold increase in customer orders. To meet demand, the business increased staff numbers and obtained extra plant and equipment.

  • Reduced errors and defect rates by 95%.

  • Saved 140 working hours per month, amounting to £7000 savings.

  • Reduced stress and freed up time for the directors.

  • Increased staff competency and confidence.

Challenges

Increased re-work: The quality of finish between staff was variable. Completed jobs were inspected by the business owner prior to dispatch. Sub-standard work was frequently identified (7%), these required reworking or replacement.

 

Late delivery: Job completion time between staff was variable, especially with rework. This resulted in difficulties in predicting lead times for customers operating with tight schedules with the port authority and shipping agents.

 

Increased management time: The business owner was more involved in the day-to-day operations, which involved the provision of additional inspection, intervening in works, expediting urgent work and coordinating site logistics. This meant he could not spend time developing the business.

Root Causes

Production support 56 carried out an initial assessment and determined several underlying causes:

  • There was no written best practice or work instructions for individual jobs. Similar tasks were carried out in different ways, and did not meet any agreed specification or quality standards.
  • Communication for allocation of work to site staff was performed by the business owner. There was no effective mechanism to allow structured handovers of work in progress and operational activities between shifts.

The guys at PS56 made some cracking procedures which we use all the time especially with the new staff. It means I’m not on the shop floor every 10 minutes and I’ve got more time to deal with my big clients. They also helped smarten up the way we organise work so everybody knows what they are doing and things work a lot smoother. They have really helped my business and I’m looking forward to working with them again.

Michael Musson, Managing Director
UK Container Repairs

The Solution

  • Identified best practice for the common activities based on client knowledge, customer and IICL (The institute of International Containers Lessors) quality standards.
  • Created detailed work instructions with photographic cues, including standard quality requirements and safety measures.
  • Designed simple and easy to use log sheets for information and data capture for quality control purposes.
  • Implemented visual management systems for shared tools, equipment and consumables.

The Benefits

Increased Effeciency

Freed up business owners time by 140 hours per month, equating to a £7000 per month saving. The business owner is using this time to gain more clients.

Reduced Rework

Provided a consistent quality of workmanship to a defined standard, resulting in less rework, from 7% to less than 0.4%.

Reduced Lead Times

Decreased the lead time for completion of repairs leading to improved relationship with biggest client.

Standardised Training

Provision of training pack for new staff to ensure compliance and quicker training times.

Better Communication

Written standardised practices enabled better communication between both staff and management.

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