Tradeworks Custom Products
TradeWorks Custom Products social enterprise of Tradeworks Training Society provides training and entry-level employment to women in the Downtown Eastside, Strathcona and adjacent neighborhoods. The workers are low income women who are determined to make changes in their lives.
Tradeworks was unable to determine a reasonable estimate of what a job would cost to manufacture. It was largely due to the lack of standard labour times and material costs for the basic milling, sawing and assembly activities required for typical customer orders. The accuracy of the job cost estimation process and productivity was unknown. Tradeworks’ quality of work and productivity needed to be enhanced by better control and management of raw material, work-in-progress, non-conforming materials, and finished goods, as it flowed through the shop.
The JDQ 3Spheres team worked closely with Ross Gentleman and Kate Stewart of Tradeworks. The project started as a simple Activity Based Costing project, but evolved into a 5S project as the discovery requirements document was completed. Activity Based Costing is a costing method that identifies manufacturing and service delivery activities in an organization and assigns the associated direct and indirect costs to the products and services, according to their actual usage or wastage. 5S is a Lean Manufacturing approach to workplace organization and standardization.
Using a hands-on problem solving methodology, the JDQ 3Spheres team found several ways to improve the Tradeworks manufacturing system, thus making it more effective, efficient and measurable.
The JDQ 3Spheres team was able to help Tradeworks:
- Clarify the estimated and actual cost of manufacturing jobs
- Improve customer job quotations and their profitability
- Better separate actual manufacturing costs from social purpose costs (i.e. training and skills development)
- Improve management of inventory, waste and product quality.
- Help secure and justify funding for society initiatives
Ross Gentleman, Executive Director commented: “The biggest benefit we got from the JDQ consultations was the learning, through every interaction and with every member of the staff team. All of the women learned so much about how to organize, streamline and critically assess their roles in the manufacturing process.” He continued to say, “We have changed the way we do things; the way the facility is organized and the way that jobs are processed. And, as a result of the advice from JDQ, we see where we need to make further changes over time.”