McGraw-Hill Improves Safety and Operations with 5S

A colleague of ours, Tracy Owens, of Three Point Consulting Ltd, has done some great work with McGraw-Hill.

“Safety and Operations need to be viewed as one in the same, not separate and conflicting, but if you want people to realize that, you need to make your initiatives relevant and easy.” – Mark Torch, Director of EH&S at McGraw-Hill

Client Profile:

McGraw-Hill Customer Operations Group comprises six distribution centers and a customer service group that is split between two of those locations. The group is responsible for distribution, transportation, and customer service for McGraw-Hill Education servicing the K-12, Higher Education, and Professional Markets. The distribution centers total over 3.3 million square feet with a total headcount of 750 full time associates. Utilizing temporary agencies, the headcount can double during the peak summer season.

The Challenge:

The traditional safety program was created 2 years ago. Changes in policies and procedures, incident/near miss reporting, and trend analysis have come fast and furious and have contributed to a solid program with relatively good incident rates. The corporation has a Business Process Management (BPM) initiative and it has been possible to engage the distribution and customer service associates into the process.

On the other hand, levels of housekeeping varied from site to site and even department to department. Slips, trips, and falls from the same level had surfaced as some of the leading causes of injury. Safety was seen as a separate function not fully integrated into operations, and it was often considered someone else’s responsibility. So the question that needed to be answered was “how could the team use established business initiatives to drive improvement in housekeeping and reduce injury rates to world class levels and integrate safety into operations?” The initiative had to be seen as part of overall strategy, not something additional or new, and engage associates at every level of the organization.

The Engagement:

Mark Torch, Director of EH&S, had worked with Tracy Owens of 3 Point Consulting Ltd before. Tracy was the Director of Quality for a large logistics company and trained Mark as a Six Sigma Black Belt. Mark reached out to Tracy with the idea of engaging the associates with the 5S System as an introduction to lean principles and BPM. After touring two of the facilities and talking with associates, Tracy developed and delivered a customized “Five S Train the Trainer” program and workshop. The course was developed to educate all associates on how ownership of their area and their continuous improvement efforts contributes to the “big picture” and ties directly into the corporate BPM strategy. The workshop was attended by the Senior Director of each location.

“Seeing the conditions and situations first-hand helped me to prepare a program that was a lot more relevant to the Senior Directors than anything off the shelf.” – Tracy Owens, 3 Point Consulting Ltd

The leadership team then took the program and delivered it to all associates. A standardized approach to Housekeeping Audits was developed and rolled out simultaneously. The audits were automated and provide real time dashboards to be shared with the facility. Each facility then began their “Five S BPM Journey.”

The Results:

The results have been remarkable. To date the team has reduced OSHA recordable injuries by 50% year on year and has practically eliminated slips, trips, and falls. Across the group there are now “Five S Newsletters” and a social network group for sharing best practices and lessons learned. A “Five S Shine Award” at each location is given to the department with the highest monthly average on the housekeeping audits.

By integrating the project with the BPM initiative and leveraging Kaizen events, the team has organized the work areas, improved ergonomics, and gained a true understanding of how productivity and safety are one in the same.

Additional Information:

Contact the team at Transformance Advisors for information on how you can leverage lean concepts such as the 5S System improve service and reduce costs.

Please send an email to Transformance Advisors.

For additional information on this success at McGraw-Hill, you can contact Tracy Owens from 3 Point Consulting Ltd at Tracy Owens.

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