Before and after picture of fab shop
At Synergy Solution Group, we are dedicated to supporting our member companies in their pursuit of success. Synergy member, Archer Mechanical, embarked on a significant transformation journey after attending our 2022 Construction Forum, which featured a tour of JM Brennan. Upon their return, the team at Archer made the decision to overhaul their fab shop.
1. What lit the spark for Archer Mechanical to make changes to your fab shop, and how did the JM Brennan fab shop tour influence that decision? 

Frustrations of expectations and vision between departments , and our department goals for improving our space and increasing our production.

2. What were the main roadblocks or challenges you faced while transitioning your fab shop from traditional to manufacturing-focused?

1. Aligning Vision and Expectations with the entire team involved from the owners to the laborers in the shop and getting the team outside of the shop to adapt to the new process.

2. Tossing or scraping materials that cannot be returned used on other current projects was a challenge

3. Time frame was a challenge, as some thought this would be a get it set and be done quickly but it will take time for the new habits to take place.

3. Give us the lowdown on the core principles or methods you brought in for this transformation.

We followed the 5S Methodology. 1. Sort: Keeping only what is necessary and discarding everything else. 2. Set In Order: Arranging and labeling only necessary items for easy use and return by anyone. 3. Shine: Keeping everything swept and clean for inspection for safety and preventive maintenance of equipment. 4. Standardize The state that exists when the first three pillars or “S’s” are properly maintained. 5. Sustain: Making a habit of properly maintaining correct procedures.

4. How did you tackle the implementation of these changes? 

We started out by our management team rewriting the shop’s Expectations to follow the 5S method. After the expectations, the management team agreed.  We trained the shop team on the new expectations and the 5S Method.  This is where the shop team got to work.   We assigned a team that only worked on 5S. They labeled, cleaned, painted, organized, and made a designated place for everything Then, we divided and conquered as a shop and all hands shut down fabrication in 3. increments (Fridays to Sundays) . We completed a couple of areas at a time to wrap up changes and make it shine.

5. Any tips or tactics that worked particularly well?

 1. If your production schedule allows you to do the shutdown in one larger time frame.

2. We went through the shop, yard, and storage areas and “Red Tagged’ everything that was not for a current projects, an upcoming projects, or items that had no purpose or place, all these items were moved to a designated area where we decided if it could be returned, sold, scraped or tossed.

3.  We brought in metal recycle bins as well as roll-off dumpsters. Along with all hands shutdown we had a team that only worked on 5S they labeled, cleaned, painted, organized, and made a designated place for everything

6. Can you share some of the tangible benefits or improvements you’ve noticed since making these changes? Any specific stories or examples of how it’s affected your day-to-day operations?

With everything having a place and keeping everything in its place it is easy to tell when something is out of place or missing, Keeping the materials labeled and organized to a high level saves time. Tools are staying in the areas and every area has the right tools. The workspace also flows better.

7. How has your fab shop been evolving since the initial changes?

Our shop has transformed from a typical plumbing shop to a Manufacturing Facility.   5S is an ever-evolving method. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our shop flow as well as make ourselves more efficient. We are holding ourselves to a higher standard with weekly audits and improving week to week.

8. Any interesting feedback or reactions from your team members regarding the transformation?

We have been getting awesome feedback, everyone who visits our shop asks if we are using 5s or other Lean manufacturing methods. We have been asked to help some of our vendors and subcontractors with their transformations to be lean.  Fun comment: one of our customers compared our shop to a Nascar shop.

9. Do you have any hard numbers or metrics that showcase these changes’ positive impact on Archer Mechanical’s business?

We don’t have an exact answer to this yet, but our current project is trending to save hours.

Archer Mechanical’s journey from frustration to efficiency serves as a testament to the power of embracing change and continuous improvement.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Access our monthly news updates, announcements for upcoming training events and webinars, and special best practices and ideas from your fellow Synergy peers.

Related articles