OMEP’s on-site consultants adopted a blended continuous improvement approach with Bob’s Red Mill, focusing on problem solving, capacity creation and culture building. To do this, OMEP worked closely with the Operations leadership team to identify which processes to focus on.
Safety, in general, was selected as the vehicle for problem-solving training. It was accessible and relatable to everyone in the plant and didn’t require any of the staff to have special technical knowledge to be able to participate meaningfully. The new equipment Installation process was also selected as a target area to teach project management and build additional production capacity quickly. Increasing capacity was a priority for the organization. In each case, OMEP created customized training for the Bob’s Red Mill team and then used real-world events and projects to practice the new skills.
Bill said, “I was pleasantly surprised at the increased level of interest everyone had in the process. Our Continuous Improvement meetings were open to anyone in the organization, and we saw engagement with every level of employee.”
As the Bob’s Red Mill team and OMEP continued to partner to achieve goals, they engaged in regular post-mortem reviews of completed projects, helping the Bob’s Red Mill team integrate what they learned into their next projects. Additional Continuous Improvement tools such as visual tracking boards at the packaging lines, Gemba walk routines, and individual leadership coaching engagements were included, allowing Bob’s Red Mill develop their culture not only in Operations but also in HR, New Product Development, Customer Service, and other parts of the organization.
The problem-solving methodology and tools have translated to all departments. “You can even see an idea board in the customer service department, covered with sticky notes,” says Bill