Fleet staff realizes success with first Green Belt project
Project: Increase Inventory Turnover
Project Lead: Todd Bryant
Team Members: Fleet Administrative Assistant Nadine Bloomfield, Bryce Osborne, Fleet Procurement Clerk, Fleet Supervisor Ian Parker.
When Todd Bryant started with the City of Kawartha Lakes as Manager of Fleet Services 18 months ago he recognized change was necessary. But getting from recognizing the necessity of change to actual implementation has been a long road. That is until the City’s new Lean Six Sigma Green Belt tools offered a fresh perspective and mandate for change.
“For my first Green Belt project we really wanted to look at increasing inventory turnover,” Mr. Bryant explained. “Our team was quickly able to drill down and work through the Green Belt process to identify four main areas to achieve our goal.”
The first area the Green Belt process identified was reducing the types of plow blades used from five to one – reducing the amount of inventory by standardizing the blades.
The second area the team members identified was returning a number of spare parts that aren’t used frequently.
“A great example is wheel ends of buses,” Mr. Bryant said. “We would keep these parts in house, at approximately $4,200 each, and when a bus required a wheel end replacement we would complete the work. Now there is a supplier that stocks them locally, so we simply order them when the need arises.”
Third on the list of identified efficiencies was really tapping into the existing relationships and contacts currently being used by Fleet.
“Previously if another Department had a need for a headlight they would go and get one independently of Fleet, as would any other department,” Mr. Bryant explained. “What we have established through this is an opportunity for Fleet Services to be a central hub for all parts requirements in the City of Kawartha Lakes. What this means is that we will get a better price for the parts we do need and we have a considerably higher turnover rate.”
The fourth item the process identified was developing a better schedule of when vehicles, such as buses and snow plows come in for Annual Inspections.
“By identifying, sharing and establishing a schedule of which vehicles are coming in, we can look at the make and model of the vehicle and know which parts we should be ordering in advance so we are reducing the amount of time those vehicles are out of service,” Mr. Bryant explained.
While the changes may seem simple at the conclusion, Mr. Bryant explained it was the Green Belt process and the work of his team in looking at all of the information that solidified the results and the improvements moving forward.
“I knew this project is something I wanted to do,” said Mr. Bryant. “The staff knew there were issues and they jumped into this initiative with both feet.
“We have some very professional, very knowledgeable, qualified staff, and the Green Belt process really helped to empower them to identify areas for improvement and make those changes. In the past we have listened to staff but it hasn’t really gone past that. Now we have the tools and the necessary authority to listen and respond with hard data.”
Included on Mr. Bryant’s team were Fleet Administrative Assistant Nadine Bloomfield, Bryce Osborne, Fleet Procurement Clerk and Fleet Supervisor Ian Parker.
“Everything we do is a business and we need to look at how we operate as a business,” said Mr. Bryant. “This is a great initiative to involve our staff and really tap into their knowledge and enthusiasm for change.”