Green Belt Project Aims to Green the Supply Chain

Overview

Kenco has multi-client space spread across North America. Kenco’s multi-client facility in Utah operates a pallet sorting and repair operation for a pallet pooling company.  In this operation, pallets returned to Kenco are inspected for quality before being reissued to other customers. 

Challenge

If the pallet needs a minor repair, a Kenco employee either performs the repair at the inspection table or sends it to a small repair center within Kenco’s facility.  The operations supervisor completed a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt project in the pallet sorting and repair operation area.  The project’s focus was to increase productivity and quality of the operation.

Solution

By using Lean Six Sigma methodologies, the Green Belt team implemented several solutions to reduce the number of damaged pallet loads shipped to outside repair centers.  By minimizing the number of pallets shipped to outside repair centers, Kenco is able to deliver significant financial savings to Kenco’s customer.  One of the first changes made during the project was to replace the battery powered screw gun with a corded screw gun.  The corded screw gun is at least twice as powerful as the battery operated screw gun and thus tremendously increases productivity.  In addition to this replacement, the Pallet Inspector is now given an incentive bonus if the daily repair goal is met.  The Green Belt team also identified and eliminated non-value activities in the repair process and created a standard work combination sheet for training purposes.

Results

After the Green Belt project’s completion, the operation saw a significant increase in quality and production.  Kenco is now able to complete all minor pallet repairs in-house.  Kenco increased the number of repairs from 1,800 a week to over 3,400, realizing a 90% increase.  This has translated into a direct savings of $116,407 a year.