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Energy Absorption Systems: Continuous Improvement training and coaching

Company

Energy Absorption Systems, Inc. (EAS) is the world's leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of highway crash cushions and other highway safety devices. These products have helped save more than 25,000 lives on world roadways. Over 50 employees work at the company’s R&D lab and accredited testing facility in Rocklin.

Challenge

According to Aaron Cox, Applications Design Engineer, EAS recognized that some of the internal processes were taking too long. The company formed a task force to investigate and make some initial improvements. Then, in order to delve deeper into the issues and commit to a full fledged continuous improvement program, they turned to Sierra College Training & Development. “This is not a quick fix,” said Cox. “Our management has been very supportive and the Sierra College Training consultants helped establish reasonable expectations. Not only do we have to learn continuous improvement tools such Cause and Effect Analysis and Value Stream Mapping; we are changing our culture, measuring and tracking like we’ve never done before and questioning our processes. We know this is likely to take one to two years.”

Solution

The initial training was on process improvement tools. “Our team gained a great deal of respect for Jes Vargas’ style and industry expertise through the training,” said Cox. “We also realized that we had to look deeper into systemic problems and work through a series of solutions rather than take a band-aid approach. The weekly coaching provided by Sierra College Training has been critical to keeping this process on track.”

Competitiveness

“In the long run, our company will gain a competitive advantage by not only improving the process we are working on now, but because we have learned the tools to test, measure and evaluate that can be applied to other processes,” said Cox.

Customization

“Sierra College Training & Development has been very easy to work with and flexible in scheduling,” said Cox. “Our coach, Jes Vargas, provides an invaluable service when he listens to what everybody says and then summarizes it in a succinct conclusion. He keeps this project on track.”

Additional Benefits

“Doing exercises together such as process mapping gave our employees a greater understanding of their co-workers’ responsibilities,” said Cox. “We were amazed that we did not know how we did many tasks. Now we are improving our systems and documentation. Our managers also see how these tools can apply to other parts of the organization.”

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