Lean Practices: Tightening Processes at Shalom Movers
Singapore Institute of Technology recently held its fourth CXO Lean Summit, an annual conference organised by Lean Transformation Innovation Centre (LTIC), the university’s focal resource centre where local companies can acquire knowledge and training, as well as co-develop innovative technological solutions. The Summit, a platform for local companies to gather and share successful lean achievements and best practices in business productivity and processes, featured a speaker line-up of corporate leaders from the SME scene, including Shalom International Movers (Shalom).
Mr Gabriel Lam, Chief Operating Officer, Shalom Movers, provided insights to the company's lean strategies at SIT's CXO Lean Summit 2019.
As a visionary company that believes in investing in their best assets – their employees – to stay ahead of the curve, Shalom enrolled key staff members to undergo the Lean Skills Development Programme (LSDP) at LTIC to empower them with lean thinking methodologies and strategies.
Led by senior management Mr Gideon Lam, Chief Executive Officer, and Mr Gabriel Lam, Chief Operating Officer, Shalom Movers embarked on the Lean Skills Development Programme at SIT.
Applying the knowledge acquired at LTIC, Shalom identified two areas where workflow needs to be improved upon – while facilitating a move job, as well as the material retrieval process in the mornings at the warehouse.
For the first workflow, Shalom tightened an existing process where their workers would load packed boxes directly to the trucks, eliminating an extra step previously required where the packed boxes had to be shifted to a holding area for sorting before loading. Shalom also adopted a “pull” system that allowed them to make better use of their costliest assets – the trucks, which would previously remain idle at the customer’s site as they waited to be loaded. With lean implementation, the trucks were deployed to key operational areas, and “pulled” (activated) as necessary whenever cartons are ready to be loaded, enabling optimised usage of their vehicle asset.
The Lean team at Shalom Movers, led by COO Mr Gabriel Lam, studying ways to implement Lean strategies.
The second workflow that was improved with lean strategy implementation was the material retrieval process at the warehouse in the mornings – the busiest time of the day where movers would be retrieving the packing materials required for their assigned jobs of the day. The packing materials used to be placed haphazardly along the pathway and would sometimes spill over to the roadside, posing inconveniences to other businesses in the vicinity.
Together with LTIC, the Lean Champions from Shalom studied this chaotic flow intensely, and proceeded to use lean skills to redesign the work process, as well as the store layout and storage areas to ensure productivity is maximised. The lean process also saw clearer roles and responsibilities being assigned, leading to greater accountability and a purposeful team focused on a collective goal, as well as a schedule drawn up to ensure specific arrival of Shalom’s trucks. This ensured a continuous flow of the trucks into the carpark, and helped Shalom avoid traffic congestions with the many other vehicles in the carpark while waiting for the materials to be loaded.
Employees getting re-briefed on the improved workflow.
With the implementation of the new processes, a smoother, more continuous flow of work by the movers is achieved, with an estimate of more than 50 man-hours saved every week.
Shalom employees also embraced a culture of growth towards continuous learning and improvement, and the company went on to clinch the Great Place to Work award in 2018.