Shawn Durbin, Rahco Rubber Inc.’s new director of man­ufacturing, has been pushing for a visible change in how the company manages its projects.

For Durbin, that starts with a new flag system that helps his team manage a job’s workflow with just a quick glance across the 65,000-sq.-ft. space.

Each machine has a series of flags in different colors ranging from green to yellow to red, indicating the status of that particular press.

“So as you walk through the factory, you’ll see green flags,” Durbin said. “Any­body within the factory from engineering to ownership can see what’s going on.”

An important part of making the sys­tem work is the understanding that a yellow or red flag doesn’t mean something bad is happening. “It just means, ‘I need help, for whatever reason.’ It’s a support call,” Durbin said.

The system started as an hour-by-hour board, as a way to parse special cause compared to common cause variations, he said. With that kind of record, it was eas­ier to determine whether there was a challenge at the startup of a particular machine, or if there was a special cause happening at some point in the day.


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