“Step by step towards optimized processes: the 5S activation package at Sunshine Group”
In February 2023, 5S-Company was allowed to carry out the 5S activation program at Sunshine Group in Doetinchem. Below you can read how Sunshine Group activated 5S and their experiences with it.
Why 5S Activation Package at Sunshine Group?
The 5S Activation Package was carried out at Sunshine Group to achieve an even more efficient structure and organization in the warehouse. Nick Helmink, supply chain manager at Sunshine Group, noticed when he was appointed that the warehouse was not yet optimally organized. Despite the self-managing team, there was room for improvement in structure and mutual working agreements.
“We are determined to tackle the challenges we face. And we want to create a culture of improvement and efficiency within Sunshine Group,” said Nick. ” Because of the passion and involvement of 5S-Company, both on their website and during the introductory meeting, we decided to work with them. Miranda and Mariëlle from the 5S-Company came to our company to analyze the situation and conduct interviews,” Nick added. “The goal was to 5S method and to create new awareness among our employees. We were impressed with their approach.”
Nick emphasized the importance of 5S-Company's hands-on approach. “I have often seen that training only consists of fun games and theoretical knowledge. Precisely where a pragmatic approach is of great importance. 5S-Company not only tackles the problem, but also actually accompanies you on the work floor and conducts regular audits. It also doesn't feel like you're just buying a product; you actually buy knowledge and services, but also a partnership.”
Challenges towards a streamlined work culture
Initially, integrating 5S into Sunshine Group's corporate culture was expected to be a major challenge. However, this turned out to be okay in the end. “A concrete example of this is our active assessment process. We have drawn up a standard procedure with instructional videos and clear materials so that anyone can now set up the tent. This ensures that we are no longer dependent on a few skilled persons to do this.
However, there were other unexpected challenges that Sunshine Group faced. One of these challenges was managing the red security labels. The staff was surprised at how quickly these labels piled up. She realized that a messy situation had arisen. Keeping the workplace clean and involving employees in cleaning up and decisions about excess stock proved to be a challenge in itself. It was even experienced as a “nice challenge” to create awareness about surplus stocks. And also the possibility to sell it,” says Nick.
Implementation of the 5S activation package
Sunshine Group has implemented the 5S activation package step by step in their warehouse, starting with specific sections such as return and construction department. They strive to tackle more and more important activities, such as optimizing processes for exhibitions. They keep making gradual improvements through internal audits, even during peak season. In addition, they plan to apply the 5S principle everywhere in the warehouse. The warehouse generally looks well organized, but there are still areas where Sunshine Group wants guidance and attention. Especially in the field of security. They have implemented fixed places for materials and resources. In addition, they continuously evaluate their processes to eliminate waste according to the 5S principles. Another audit took place in July to assess progress. Sunshine Group aims to grow from 25% to 65% improvements and consistency within the first year.
The implementation process went surprisingly smoothly. At first we were concerned about addressing a limited area within our sprawling multi-brand warehouse. However, with a modest team of eight people, we have noticed that it is possible to achieve significant improvements. Fortunately, all team members were eager to roll up their sleeves and focus on a specific area. This resulted in an activated team with positive involvement.
Keeping people engaged is always crucial and an ongoing challenge that Sunshine Group is working hard on. “We actively listen to our employees. We encourage them to participate in the improvement process and contribute ideas.” The fact that they are heard stimulates and motivates them. “Our approach is based on shared responsibility. We have a 5S coordinator, but we don't want to depend on one person. That is why we change responsible every week, so that everyone remains involved. I am responsible for the internal audits and during our weekly rounds we spar and discuss new points for improvement together.”
Result and goals
“In recent times we have achieved concrete results and set new goals that lead us to success. A tidy warehouse was a specific and tangible goal that we achieved. It is now beautifully organized and structured. This has not only led to a tidy space, but has also simplified our processes. It has enabled us to make several people responsible for storage space and quality control.”
In addition, it has also brought about a shift in warehouse thinking and corporate culture. “We have noticed that our employees, both those who were familiar with the 5S method and those without experience, now have a different mindset. They now understand the importance of 5S and are applying it. This has led to more efficient and smarter workplaces. In addition, the Sunshine Group has recruited new employees who fully embrace this new culture, a proud team with a lot of potential! They have learned to look at specific aspects in the warehouse with more focus. They have also developed a strong sense of responsibility. “As a team, we are able to notice problems when things are not placed correctly. If this happens, we take immediate action to implement improvements.”
An interesting aspect of our working environment is the implementation of specific walkways in the warehouse. “We have agreed that it is forbidden to walk outside these paths, unless you wear the right work shoes. This policy not only has to do with safety, but it also creates a sense of structure and discipline. We have noticed that our employees hold each other accountable for this. We hope that this awareness will also spread to other departments in the future, such as the office and the sales department.
The 5S activation package has improved our warehouse, but it has also led to a change in thinking and working methods in other departments. Everyone is starting to think in the same way and this new way of working is increasingly being integrated into our daily work. It ensures efficiency, increased productivity and a sense of responsibility for all our employees.”
We are grateful for the trust Sunshine Group has placed in us. Would you like to stay informed about the further steps we are taking in our journey towards continuous improvement? Then keep an eye on us!
Meet Sunshine Group
An established name in the leisure sector with over thirty years of experience in the camping industry. Sunshine Group is the proud owner of the high-quality leisure brands: Dorema, Alpenkreuzer and De Waard. Dorema is the specialist when it comes to caravan awnings and canopies. Alpenkreuzer is known as a folding trailer brand for its colorful trendy folding trailers. In addition, De Waard specializes in producing high-quality camping tents in the B2C and B2B branch. With more than 260 employees and 6 branches, Sunshine Group is in full development.