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It’s a “High Five” for Atlas Copco Compressor Technique’s Workshop in Jet Park

Ian Ainsworth, Atlas Copco South Africa, CTS BLM

Ian Ainsworth, Business Line Manager,, CTS

The premium quality associated with the Atlas Copco brand extends far beyond our products, equipment and systems; it also encompasses our service and after-sales service solutions because customer satisfaction remains our number one priority. Best practices are thus fundamental to not only how we manufacture our industrial compressors and other smart air products but also to how we maintain, service and repair them.

As much of this scope of work takes place in our workshop in Jet Park, Johannesburg, Compressor Technique Service (CTS) decided to optimise this environment through organisation improvement and through gaining a “visual” workspace. We have done this by implementing a 5 Steps (5S) organisational and housekeeping methodology. By strictly following the 5 Steps - Sort, Shine, Sweep (or set in order), Standardise and Sustain – in our workshop, our customers can rest assured in the knowledge that their machines are repaired or serviced in an ideal and optimised environment.

5S is essentially a system that reduces waste and optimises productivity by helping us to maintain an orderly workshop and to employ visual management, thereby ensuring more consistent operational throughout and results. The 5S initiative perfectly aligns with one of Atlas Copco’s corporate mottos and our continuous improvement philosophy of “there is always a better way”.

The first three steps - Sort, Shine, Sweep (or set in order) - are relatively easy to do while the last two steps - Standardise and Sustain - are a little more difficult. These two are also the most important steps because this is where an organisation really sees the benefits of the initiative.

Safety and good housekeeping practices are the key components of the 5S principles. Safety is an integral part of Sort, Shine and Sweep while the principles of Standardise and Sustain ensure that safety and good housekeeping is maintained.
Some of the initial benefits that we have realised since the implementation of 5S include: Reduced probability of lost items and parts, substantial time saving, avoidance of customer machine mix ups and delays, and a cleaner workspace.
An important benefit that we did not even factor in are space saving and optimisation. By clearly measuring and demarcating the floor areas, workspaces and walkways, we have discovered that we were able to extract more work areas out of the existing spaces.
5S wall

We have also now reached a point where “value stream mapping” and “processes” are being optimised in the workshop and operations to maintain and improve on the Standardise and Sustain principles. We have re-mapped and updated our quality procedures and processes and are now looking at our standardised work methods to see if they can be improved upon as a result. This is where the initial improvements and processes are fully embedded into our organisation and become part of our daily work practices in all that we do. One recent innovation is the introduction of a paperless gate pass system where gate passes are now electronically entered, approved and processed on the system, ensuring speed and traceability.

The 5S implementation required some investments in personnel time as well as in sundries like floor paint, tools, oil catchment and tool boxes for workspaces, signage, etc. However we believe the return in the workshop area has already paid off and we are, without any doubt, an even better and more organised operation as a result.

We believe that by making 5S part of our work lives, we will improve personnel morale, teamwork and cohesion. It will also provide a forum for workshop personnel to make new suggestions on processes; as they are hands-on, they are in the best position to suggest how we can improve on “the way we do things”. We are extremely encouraged by these benefits and will remain committed to the 5S principles. Going forward, we pledge to continue building on what we have already done so that we are able to maintain the delivery of high quality work and subsequently ensure complete satisfaction for Atlas Copco Compressor Technique customers.

Ian Ainsworth
Business Line Manager
Compressor Technique Services, South Africa


Compressor Technique