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Members of Century club

The average life cycle of new corporations is roughly 12 to 15 years, a significant decrease from the 1920s, when the average age was 67 years. Very few companies are members of the Century Club, which includes companies that have been in continuous, independent operation for more than 100 years. Companies that have celebrated 100 years in business have very strong business systems and are deliberate about preserving them.

We assist our clients to move from broken business systems to a stage where they show a business excellence spirit by enhancing all business aspects and functions.


What are the 20 keys?

The 20 Keys system is based on a comprehensive and holistic methodology for strengthening an organization's continuous operations' improvement capability in people, processes, and the productive use of technology. The system was founded by a Japanese engineer, Prof. Iwao Kobayashi, in 1982. He also wrote a book about it, describing the system as 20 practical and synergistically integrated focus areas (Keys). Underlying the methodology is a benchmark and progress review system, guiding the improvement efforts to higher levels of operational excellence. All aspects of operational excellence are covered, and people at all levels and in all functions of the organization are involved.


20Keys Maps

The 20 keys enable everyone to have a common understanding of the current level of the company in comparison with all other companies in the world.

  • Cleaning and Organizing to Make Work Easy
  • Rationalizing the System/Goal Alignment
  • Small Group Activities
  • Reducing the Work-in Process
  • Quick Changeover Technology
  • Kaizen of Operations
  • Zero Monitor Manufacturing / Production
  • Coupled Manufacturing / Production
  • Maintaining Machines and Equipment
  • Workplace Discipline
  • Quality Assurance
  • Developing Your Suppliers
  • Eliminating Waste
  • Empowering Employees to Make Improvements
  • Skill Versatility and Cross-training
  • Production Scheduling
  • Efficiency Control
  • Using information systems
  • Conserving Energy and Materials
  • Leading Technology/Site Technology
  • Key 1. Cleaning and organizing the main objective of Key 1 is to make the workplace safer and more efficient by creating an organized and clean work environment that all employees are proud of. This leads to energized work teams, improved motivation, and production.
  • Key 2.  Goal Alignment Key 2 focuses on having an effective organizational structure with goal alignment at all levels; managerial, supervisory, workers, etc. Within the structure, the various work groups are organized as "mini businesses" or MB’s. Each MB is guided by quality, cost, delivery, safety, and moral performance indicators (QCDSM measures).
  • Key 3.  Involves forming small groups who get together to solve problems. These problem-solving groups are called "SGA's." An SGA consists of 3-5 people who brainstorm specific problems relating to quality, safety, downtime, etc. It also engages everyone in thinking about improvements.
  • Key 4.  Reducing Work in Process (WIP) The 20-key approach enables an organization to reduce WIP and thereby achieve space savings, lower transportation costs, and get its production to its customers faster. It also becomes more flexible because it can adapt to changing production schedules more easily.
  • Key 5.  Reducing Changeovers Key 5 guides a company to reduce non-value-adding activities linked to changeovers. Time spent on changeovers is one of those non-value-adding activities, or WASTE. Shorter changeovers enable the company to get its products to customers faster.
  • Key 6.  Kaizen Operation – Goal (Cost Reduction (Productivity Improvement) Key 6 focuses on improving processes through analyzing, streamlining, and simplifying the processes on the production floor or in the office. Documentation at this stage is essential by means of process flow diagrams, activity flow diagrams, physical flow diagrams, and operation improvement sheets.
  • Key 7.  Zero Monitor Manufacturing / Production Equipment monitoring (just watching the machines when they run) is a waste of time. If monitoring is performed to detect the production of defects, equipment must be improved so that no defects are produced in the first place. If monitoring is performed to guard against raw material shortages, then the system must be improved to prevent this from happening.
  • Key 8.  Coupled Manufacturing/ Production Coupled manufacturing is about methods to link processes to ensure a smooth, fast process flow where inventory levels are kept as low as possible. The aim of key 8 is the better linking of processes to improve process flow.
  • Key 9.  Maintaining Machines and Equipment Key 9 focuses on improving the effectiveness of the machines and equipment by involving the operators and users of the equipment daily and routinely carrying out the necessary maintenance.
  • Key 10.  All employees understand the value that they add to the workplace and that they must be on time and adhere to all policies and procedures prescribed by the company.
  • Key 11. Quality Assurance Key 11 focuses on continuous quality improvement by establishing a quality-focused workplace. The optimum goal is to achieve zero defects and non-conformances.
  • Key 12.  Developing your Suppliers As a comprehensive system, 20keys addresses, through key 12, the development of external suppliers and contractors as partners in the value chain. It introduces a formal method for managing and developing suppliers by setting their development strategy, service agreements, and measurement of their performance. The same approach applies to internal suppliers too.
  • Key 13.  Eliminating Waste: Waste is anything that doesn’t add value. Key 13 focuses on time wastage in the workplace and increasing time spent on value-adding tasks.
  • Key 14.  Empowering Employee to Make Improvements Team empowerment is characterized by well-informed, multi-skilled team members that take initiative, can investigate problems, and are authorized to make decisions and implement improvement.
  • Key 15.  Skill Versatility and Cross Training: 20Keys system values the organization’s people, and Key 15 is about implementing learning and development as part of the business strategy. Employees become more valuable and enjoy greater job satisfaction. The 20 key skills matrices are applied to assess current skill levels and address skills gaps within the teams.
  • Key 16.  Production Scheduling principles implemented include backwards-reverse planning and scheduling. Finite scheduling, measurement at control points, load levelling, work tracking, and visual management. It also addresses project management in terms of applying best practices and approaches such as "Critical Chain Planning."
  • Key 17.  Efficiency Control With efficiency control, realistic and motivating throughput rates (output rates) are established for all processes and work, and performance is measured against targets to see how well a team is performing. The emphasis is on short interval control.
  • Key 18.  Using Information Systems, Everyone is trained to effectively use systems relevant to their workplaces, both in terms of day-to-day operations and as an enabler for continuous improvement. To do this, teams are supported in terms of training, solving soft and hardware technology problems, and receiving continuous education regarding the opportunities provided by information systems.
  • Key 19.  Conversing Energy and Materials Energy-saving technologies are identified and implemented when dealing with this key. Making people at all levels aware of how they can help to save energy and materials, even in small ways, contributes greatly towards helping the organization become a lean, competitive market player.
  • Key 20.  Leading Technology / Site Technology Leading technology refers to the equipment or hardware available to the company to design, build, or produce products or services. Site technology is that set of skills and know how that a particular company has acquired as it develops its processes. Site technology is an intangible asset that does not increase simply by the introduction of new equipment. The critical aspect in Key 20 is to cope with the speed of advancements in technology development.

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