Comac’s entry into the ATS Automation group continues to bear fruit: a Kaizen event dedicated to material flow analysis was held at the company.

Kaizen events are one of the tools lying at the core of the business system that has been guiding the disciplined and continuous improvement processes of the entire group since 2017: ABM (acronym for ATS Business Model).

An approach that Comac has been applying for a long time, through the Lean Philosophy: the ultimate goal is cutting any kind of waste (not only materials, but also time, costs and knowledge) to make each process more and more efficient.

To achieve this result, the ABM model leverages three keywords: People, Process, Performance.

People: our foundation

“The foundation of a great business is having great people. It follows, then, that working to develop, engage, empower and energize our people is both a core ATS value and the first of our three pillars, followed by process, and then performance, at the foundation of the ABM”. – Andrew Hider, CEO

The energy and empowerment of the people who work in the ATS Group is key to making impactful and continuous changes. For this reason, training courses and Kaizen events, such as the one held in Comac, play an important role in detecting and trying to solve waste issues, identifying appropriate solutions with a dedicated team.

Processes: a culture of continuous improvement

“At its core, our ABM is our pursuit of continuous improvement in everything we do. If we have a standard process, and we can measure that process, we are capable of driving sustainable improvements”. – Jeremy Patten, VP ATS Business Model

The ABM model cuts across all business functions and is deployed across three phases to achieve three goals: strengthen our core, deliver growth, and pursuit of excellence.

Performance: for employees, customers and shareholders

 “After the Kaizen event, I am amazed at the results we delivered in just one week. Please keep driving the ABM throughout the business” – Production Team Leader, Cambridge Life Science Division

The current and future performance of Comac and of the entire ATS group depends on this relentless process of growth, which brings benefits to all those who, in various ways, work with us: employees, suppliers, customers.

To gain a better understanding of how the Kaizen event experience was for the company, we asked a few questions to Stefano Gotti, Head of Production, and member of the Comac Kaizen team.

–  Where did the need to organize a Kaizen event stem from?

We wanted to organize a Kaizen event after delving deep into the topic of ABM (ATS Business Model).

We analyzed and identified the various wastes within the company, and we then sorted them based on the “impact/difficulty” matrix.

We decided to work right away on the shipping part as it became clear that we could achieve some great results in the short and long term.

– What were the goals to be achieved? Were they achieved?

Several goals were set. The primary one was not having to reschedule the delivery dates agreed with the customer.

The other objectives were:

  1. Minimize the time of potential rescheduling 
  2. Reduce the cycle time across all activities (from offices to warehouse) 
  3. Reduce the LEAD TIME from finished products to actual delivery  

– In your opinion, what are the positive aspects of introducing ABM in Comac?

With ABM we could actually put many aspects introduced in Comac some time ago into practice, thanks to training meetings organized by ATS, that gave us the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion on different topics (problem solving, Kaizen, KATA and many other LEAN concepts) in order to identify wastes in the departments that impact on value drivers.

In addition, interesting tools were provided such as: the Bowling chart, to massively analyze the KPIs and understand whether the objective has been reached or not, the impact/difficulty matrix, to evaluate which actions are easily achievable and which are not, and A3 Problem Solving, to analyze a problem in depth and act as soon as possible. These tools can be applied immediately in all the areas of the company and especially in all departments. Where there is waste, ABM facilitates a swift and effective intervention to detect the criticality, objectively measure the data and understand if the problem has been solved or if the improvement process must be repeated.

This is just the beginning of a long journey: all the provided tools have already been implemented and, with great satisfaction, we have immediately observed substantial improvements.

– What will be the next steps in ABM?

In addition to this Kaizen event, we have already identified areas on which to intervene, with Kaizen or Problem-solving events, depending on the issues encountered. We have kicked off a process that will be maintained and constantly improved over time. Now we will act on all the critical issues that emerged during our ABM VIRTUAL BOOT CAMP, and we are planning new VIRTUAL BOOT CAMPs to train other employees and expand the team dedicated to continuous improvement

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