Nicky Gordon, Continuous Improvement Black Belt

Lean Strategy -Gates Power Transmissions Case Study

My name is Nicky Gordon and I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt with eight years of business improvement experience across the manufacturing and financial sectors.  I am currently employed as the Continuous Improvement Coordinator for Gates Power Transmissions at our facility in south-west Scotland. 

Albeit Gates Dumfries have lived and breathed continuous improvement for over a decade, the sustainability of a number of the key tools and techniques have faded due to a skills shortage, with trained staff gaining promotion from the Gemba or departing the business.

Secondly, the majority of the available quick wins and low hanging fruit had been exhausted therefore we required personnel trained to be able to deep dive, identifying further improvement opportunities and completing them correctly.

Finally, I decided sigma would be a good capability to install on site as we’d be required to focus on variation reduction for future proofing.

My key request was that the training be delivered on site and at a pace set by myself to tie in with site demands.  By taken this course of action it allowed the candidates to be in familiar surroundings where they could visit the impacted area during sessions should the need arise.

Secondly, I didn’t want the training completed in one block as I felt the knowledge would be lost.  By requesting that the green belt programme be delivered in one day sessions on a bi-weekly basis, meant the candidates could put into practice what they learnt in a step by step approach.

From a provider perspective, I required the company to be aligned to ISO training standards, instructors to have experience within the manufacturing sector and the training material to be developed in line with Gates standards.

IA offered training material developed to match my requirements, even to the extent of using company templates.  On top of the basic material were numerous tool guides, linkages to e-papers and practical’s.  Away from the sessions, the IA instructor was always available for support with prompt replies.

The 4 projects aligned to certification have delivered in excess of $100,000 with secondary phases identified to double the benefit.  The candidates who are now green belt certified are putting their knowledge into practice and are aligned to projects in 2017 scoped at delivering approximately $250,000.  We also have them training others in soft skills like project management and 5s.

From commencement to completion IA ensured all our requirements were adhered to offering a high level of professionalism and support along the way.  The level of experience shone through during the training sessions and the fact they offer certification via a well-established body made the decision to partner with them easy.

With the site potentially looking at a yellow belt programme and leadership training in the close future, I will be again looking to link in with IA to deliver a successful and sustainable solution.

Nicky Gordon, Continous Improvement Coordinator, Gates Power Transmissions


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