Team Effort Fuels Improvement Initiative

Posted on: November 26th, 2018 by Nicole Kessell | No Comments

Every business is comprised of individuals who are assigned to one or more groups. But a group becomes a true team when the individuals within the group share a common purpose.


And at CITY, we understand that teamwork has been proven to increase efficiency, improve communication, expedite idea generation, distribute workload, and establish a culture in which each employee feel a sense of belonging.



As Andrew Carnegie once noted, teamwork “is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”


On Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3rd, as part of a lean and continuous improvement program, roughly a dozen CITY employees started the process of transforming our existing uniform stockroom.


Also known as a Kaizen Event, the goal was to improve efficiencies so the stockroom is being utilized to its full potential. Employees worked together as a team to increase efficiency, improve communication, and decrease wasted time and space.


“By doing this event, we learned that one of our biggest issues was over-processing,” Melinda Fratzke, CITY’s stockroom manager, said. “We would often touch the same product more than was necessary instead of having it run through a distinct process line.”


Throughout every department at CITY, it is our focus to continue a process of ongoing improvement.


“Our goal is to instill a culture to change our thinking about how we do things throughout our entire plant,” said Colin Wetlaufer, CITY’s president. “The big part of this is identifying the difference between ‘waste’ and ‘efficiency.’ We always want to work smarter not just harder.”


CITY’s stockroom department is an essential piece to CITY’s success. Every uniform that gets put into service starts in the stockroom. A new employee will quickly feel part of a team when they are put into a properly fitted and compliant uniform. It is the stockroom’s goal to preserve and improve our one-week fulfillment rate of 94 percent for each work order.


“We are always looking for ways to improve. Our sales team has been doing a great job added new accounts, and now it is our turn to execute,” Fratzke said. “To prepare for the predicted future growth of the company, maximizing our productivity and efficiencies is crucial because the customer always comes first.”


It took a dedicated team in order to make the Kaizen Event successful, according to Fratzke.


“Everyone jumped right in,” Fratzke said. “It was pretty awesome how well we worked together. Mark Ballo [CITY’s Des Moines Regional Manager] even came up from Des Moines while he was still on vacation to help.”


The team worked with their lean coach, Audrey Carmichael, from Six Disciplines Consulting Services, to plan and conduct the event.


“The CITY team really came together and used the lean principles we have been learning about,” Carmichael said. “Melinda had a good plan ready for the team and she got the support she needed to get it done. They made great progress in the stockroom area in this two-day event, and I know they will continue to keep making improvements that will support the planned growth of CITY.”


The Kaizen Event launched the stockroom optimization campaign, but that event was just the start, according to Fratzke. The Kaizen training will ultimately be a part of every decision-making process moving forward.


“This campaign will help us to serve our customers better and in a timely manner,” Fratzke added.


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