By Inmate Parmer
When approached to take the position of repairing
sewing machines in the IPI-Mitchellville Textiles Shop, I jumped at the opportunity. I love to work with my
hands and make operations flow smoothly. Not long after
I started, I ran into a problem that did not meet our lean
standards of waste. This is my story on how our textiles
department fixed this problem.
As with most people, I had a day where I was absent from
work. When returning the next day, I realized that there had
been machine issues. However, I was unaware of these issues
until I noticed that our process was slowing and causing a
bottleneck. I then proceeded to fix the machine and got the
Later that same week, I was away from the Textiles Shop for
15-20 minutes answering a question in the panel department
and using the restroom. During this time, I had another
employee looking for me due to machine issues. This
employee had stopped the sewing process to look for me,
which, in turn caused slowing of the flow. When I returned
to the textiles area, after not being found, I realized that there
were machine issues and a slowing of the process due to the
time it took to look for me.
At this point I decided that a better process was needed to
acknowledge these issues while keeping the women working
and the flow in a continuous forward motion. The Andon process we developed is called a stoplight process. Green,
yellow, and red cards are clipped to each machine.
- A green card facing out means that the machine is
- A yellow card facing out means that there is something
that needs to be looked at on the machine, but it is in
working condition. For example, rare or random skips in
the stitching, a re-thread issue, or a broken needle would
fall into this category.
- A red card facing out means that the machine cannot be
used due to mechanical error. Examples necessitating a
red card would be a ceased-up machine, timing is off, or
fabric is wrapped up in machine. Red cards get priority.
Now when I have a day off, or just need to use the restroom,
I can walk onto the Textiles Shop floor and have it speak to
me. I can now quickly and easily identify machine issues!