Remember that science project in 6th grade where your teacher made you work with classmates to build a safe egg transportation vehicle? You know, the one that was designed to keep a raw egg from cracking when 6th graders launched their eggs, tucked safely in a protective casing, into the great blue yonder. We love our science teachers for making that experience memorable, so much so, that we decided to give it a try ourselves... Fireclay Tile style.
We recently closed both of our factories for an entire day so that management could learn a little something from our production crews. The end result of these exercises proved to be more than inspirational, we were able to re-evaluate some core functions and practices within our production processes, establish greater trust amongst our teams and have a little fun, 6th grade science project style. With Jason Paskus, our Efficiency Manager at the helm, we had both our recycled glass and ceramic tile production crews meet at our ceramic factory in Aromas, CA to tackle three unique projects.
First was the The Tallest Tower project, a seemingly simple competition in office supply tower construction (you know you’ve done it). Given random quantities of the same materials, teams were asked to build a tower as tall as possible. About halfway through construction teams were asked to stop and check out their competition. Upon their return, some teams lost a little steam, some teams snagged ideas and a few teams stole the winning elements of their competitors tower construction methods. When all was said and done (and the tallest tower known) we were able to reflect upon the importance of collaboration, supporting the evident truth that all of us are far stronger than a few of us.
Second up was the packing project. Teams were asked to take on a task that hit close to home, packaging tile for safe shipment. And by shipment we mean dropping packages from 20 feet off the ground! After dividing up packing materials and tile of various shapes and sizes, teams went to work designing the strongest, safest package possible. We saw everything from tiles individually wrapped and cushioned to some of our more standard packing techniques. We were shocked by the results which proved our shipping techniques are spot on. This excites us most because it means not only does our recycled packaging separate us from the masses, so does our minimalistic approach, which helps in saving time and natural resources.
The final exercise allowed our production crew to tag our factories with post-it’s, suggesting improvements to our current production processes. Management was able to walk through the factory and see exactly where pain points in production exist, which helps in prioritizing improvements, ultimately resulting in higher efficiency and a happier production crew.
Fireclay Tile has always been more than tile, it’s people. Our production crews make every order possible. They are the most important asset to our company and the seat of many brilliant ideas. We applaud the work they put in each and everyday and thank them for their dedication to making sure that every order exceeds Fireclay Tile quality standards.