Sunset Air Expands Efficiency

Sunset Air LSS green belt
Several Sunset Air staff members recently completed their green belt Lean Sigma Six certification. Photo courtesy: Sunset Air

For nearly 45 years, Lacey’s Sunset Air has kept us warm, cool, safe, sound and comfortable. But did you know they’re also one of our area’s greenest companies? They have now expanded efficiency practices into operations by recently graduating six staff with a Lean Six Sigma (LSS) green belt.

Sunset Air LSS streamlined production
The global program strives to reduce waste and excess within a company, manufacturing chain, or organization. Photo courtesy: Sunset Air

Lean Six Sigma is an organizational theory designed to reduce waste. Students learn to analyze their daily workflow and look for ways to eliminate wait time, over-production, unnecessary steps, and excess inventory. Instruction levels are taught using a colored belt system like martial arts. The mid-range green belt, like that achieved by Sunset Air employees, is “For key employees responsible for problem-solving and improving quality in any type of company and in any industry.”

Matt Jones, Residential Division Manager, explains how LSS “echoes the Sunset Air culture and history that empowers employees to really help the customer and ask ‘how can we serve the customer?’” He and other LSS grads appreciate Sunset Air’s humble leadership, which allows them to spend time learning and gives everyone a voice in the corporate process under the expert instruction of facilitator Wendy Fraser, PhD, of Fraser Consulting, LLC.

Sunset Air management hope this will add value to any and all customer interactions. These new skills help in “providing a great experience for the customer and fostering a work place environment of collaboration amongst its staff to make improvements in our process throughout the company,” says Jones. “Same for the internal process of efficiency, but with the intent of enhancing the customer experience.”

As a group, all six met weekly and continue even now. They’re currently implementing projects begun in training into normal, day-to-day operations. “The goal is to share our learning,” says Mullenix, “It’s a teach-back methodology.” They have the capacity and desire to expand and further the LSS program at Sunset Air as it has shown “benefits for everybody and gives you real ‘a ha!’ moments.”

Sunset Air LSS presentations
LSS green belts can teach others within their department, work smoothly with customers, and make the company stronger. Photo courtesy: Sunset Air

In a normal workday, “everybody gets busy,” admits Jones, “you often don’t connect and then repeat the same cycles. Staff and focus groups saw a shift in thinking and change in overall culture” since starting the program. “New can be scary,” he agrees, “but the process helped us see what was important and empowers people to feel they are part of the change.”

LSS training began in the 1980s but Sunset Air has been active in and around our community since 1976. Their history started when founder Pete Fleutsch “dreamed of bettering himself, and from day one, he had a vision of what he wanted his business to be like. He wanted to create a business that not only provided quality service to its customers, but one that was also a positive presence in his community.”

Over the years, his vision has come to pass and they’ve got the 5-star reviews to show for it. Perhaps the addition of Lean Six Sigma techniques will enable expansion, growth and another 40 plus years of success and happy customers.

You can read more about all the products and services Sunset Air has to offer, schedule a service call, or request a free estimate online. Or just stop by their gorgeous Lacey showroom to see the products, speak with staff and learn more. Call 360-456-4956 with questions or to arrange 24-hour service.

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