Apprentices fly high at Callender Aeropart

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 14 March 2008



(2008), "Apprentices fly high at Callender Aeropart", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 40 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Apprentices fly high at Callender Aeropart

Article Type: Notes and news From: Industrial and Commercial Training, Volume 40, Issue 2.

Apprentices fly high at Callender Aeropart

Two apprentices from Callender Aeropart Ltd, in Accrington, UK, have got off to a flying start in their careers by attending the Manufacturing Institute’s new Start Lean program, which aims to convert apprentices to a lean way of thinking early in their careers.

The two-day course promotes awareness of the lean fundamentals, including the seven wastes, process mapping, 5S, total performance management and changeover reduction. Apprentices then implement an improvement project in their own company before reporting back to their peers and mentors, which also helps to develop communication, project-management and presentation skills.

Scott Appleby and Robert Harris, both aged 19, took their intensive lean learning back to Callender and set out on their improvement project to introduce 6S (sort, straighten, sweep, standardize, sustain and safety) to a key cell where components are produced for Rolls-Royce aero-engines. They arranged team briefings to research the key issues for improvement within the cell, identifying the need to reorganize and tidy the area and to create a step-by-step guide to help colleagues to sustain a standardized lean operation. Photographs were taken to highlight problem areas.

One major improvement was to reorganize a recycling station for cutting-tool inserts. Also, an education campaign was implemented, including the display of information cards, demonstrating how team members could sort their inserts in the right containers for recycling, rather than depositing them in the waste. This has the potential to save the business thousands of pounds a year.

To help the recycling operation, machines were cleaned up and a system introduced to monitor usage of the cutting tools and ensure that any maintenance issues resulting in over-usage are addressed immediately. This is improving productivity, with the cell on target to raise throughput by 5 percent.

As part of the improved housekeeping measures introduced, shadow boards were installed, equipment was labelled, and designated areas were created for trolleys and boxes.

Scott Appleby explained: “The kit we need is now laid out more logically and is kept tidy. We can find things when we want them, which we couldn’t always do before. That was really frustrating and irritating, as well as time-wasting.”

Robert Harris commented: “After we created the 6S system it was difficult to get everyone involved, but gradually they did join in and we can all now see the results. We had to prompt people at first to co-operate and the most difficult thing was getting the nightshift involved, but we are determined not to drift back to old, bad habits.”

A key element of the improvement program was health and safety, and small measures, such as introducing a guard to a milling machine, helped colleagues to see the potential benefits of the exercise.

The course has also helped the apprentices to improve their communication skills. “We are less intimidated than we were by people we don’t know,” said Scott Appleby. “We are now proud to demonstrate to people how lean might be able to help their work by using our project as an example of good practice.”

Tommy Gallagher, training officer for Callender, said: “The training has given Scott and Robert the theoretical and practical skills to understand and apply lean. It has improved their knowledge and appreciation of what the company is trying to do, as well as giving them a major confidence boost. They are now a lot more involved in day-to-day operations and are much more willing to challenge and ask questions.”

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