Imperial Brands is the parent company of Imperial Tobacco, whose subsidiaries manufacture and market a range of cigarettes and cigars. Every year, they host “Safety Pin Lean Games” where each of their factories organize groups to prepare improvement proposals for the factories. Back in October, Tabacalera Garcia, in La Romana, hosted the finals.
The Tabacalera de Garcia, established in 1971, is the world’s largest hand-rolled cigar factory with a long and varied history, making it an absolute must place to visit – whether you are a cigar lover or a casual aficionado. This fully operational factory and historical gem is located just outside of Casa de Campo, and is open to the public for tours which take you through the many stages of the creation of every cigar. Their lean-manufacturing involves never ending efforts to eliminate or reduce ‘muda’ (meaning waste in Japanese), and any activity that consumes resources without adding value in design, manufacturing, distribution, or customer-service. Simply put, “lean” means creating more value for customers with fewer resources.
Many companies have started to apply this method and have developed fun and entertaining ways to motivate and encourage their employees to apply them. Four-hundred and ninety-five teams from 40 manufacturing sites set out on the Safety Pin Lean journey in October 2014. The games look to implement the best practices and continual improvement in their operational teams, and reflect the company’s values by challenging, empowering, celebrating, exploring, and bringing employees together. Local factory events were followed by five regional Safety Pin Lean finals held last year at their Reidsville, Joure, Skopje, Langenhagen and Vientiane sites. The regional winners then went on to the grand final here in the Dominican Republic.
“Team Aurora” from Kiev, Ukraine, “Team Win-Win” from Jhunan, Taiwan, “Team Kaizen Chiefs” from Nottingham, UK, “Team Rebels” from Radom, Poland, and “Team SIMEX” from La Romana, Dominican Republic were the finalists and faced 10 different challenges such as theoretical tests and an improvement projects at the first stage.
They had to present the project to the judges to demonstrate how it would be successful at their factory, and how it could they be applied to other sites. They also faced Safety, Quality, and Lean exercises that tested their knowledge and skills. In the end, “Team Kaizen Chiefs” won the grand prize of the Safety Pin Lean Games.
Thankfully, it was not all work but also fun included for all who came from the various sites around the world of Imperial Brands. Casa de Campo hosted various events, activities and dinners! The participants were able to play a round of Night Golf, have dinner at once of Casa de Campo’s oldest and best restaurant, La Piazzetta, play bingo, and even dance with an animation team. Employees were recognized for their invaluable work. A closing party was held at Lago Grill where guests enjoyed a wonderful meal, cocktails and delicious desserts.
Congratulations to the winners and all those who participated! We hope you enjoyed your stay in our beautiful country and all the amenities that Casa de Campo has to offer!
See below a gallery of pictures taken during the event courtesy of Tabacalera Garcia: