Campus layout at this successful foundry was becoming an increasingly important issue with every step made toward creating a Lean environment. Quite literally dozens of people would make a (4) to (8) block trip, depending on the location of their work centers, to a building housing the NDT (non-destructive testing) equipment several times each day. Parts were being processed in buildings several blocks away then transported via carts, trucks, or forklifts to NDT for further processing. Generally, parts would be tested in NDT, then returned to the original building for additional processing. Certain parts would repeat this cycle several times.
Recognizing the importance of locating the NDT area near its internal feeders, we found space that would be centrally positioned and sufficient to meet the needs of the NDT area. After considerable re-layout, streamlining of equipment, and workflow improvements, the new NDT location used only about 1/3 (one third) of the space used in the earlier layout. Additionally, we incorporated a lab area that was previously located adjacent to the old NDT facility, and a shipping function for immediate packing & shipping of completed products. We redesigned the x-ray processing booth to accommodate the improved workflow, and KanBans were established between NDT and their several “Internal Suppliers.”
Dozens of lost production hours were saved on a daily basis. Time that was spent transporting products is now spent processing them. Communication and feedback between “Internal Suppliers” and “Internal Customers” was significantly improved. Defects caused through packing and transporting parts were almost completely eliminated. The unneeded and distant building that formerly housed NDT was leased-out to further generate revenues. Very conservative estimates value this improvement at more than $2 million annually.