Curing Equipment: Ultra-Violet & Power Supplies
The primary “bread & butter” product for this company was being produced at a rate that would not meet a sales forecast double the current rate of demand. Senior management was considering adding an additional 20 to 25 production workers to meet this demand. Quality defects plagued approximately 99% of every product made, most of which were discovered internally then corrected. Finished goods, and WIP (work in process)inventory levels were also elevated beyond desired levels.
The “Blitz Team” worked very hard to create a set of standardized work instructions that would guarantee quality and increase productivity. Independent workers were asked to form NWT’s (natural work teams), and work together in a new cellular layout designed during the Blitz process. 5S, 2-bin, and one piece KanBans were used to reduce WIP (work in process) inventory, and allow for uninterrupted parts replenishment. Many recommendations were made to streamline the assembly of this and other mainstay products. Some innovative solutions and standardization of components and hardware were suggested and implemented. Common tools that were needed but in short supply were purchased and placed in specific, convenient locations. A special turntable was constructed to allow for easier lifting of heavy parts. Many procedural and disciplinary adjustments were made to ensure a constant flow of products through the newly formed cell.
Prior to the Improvement Blitz individuals were expected to produce 1.8 of the primary unit each day. After the Blitz the new cell using only 4 assemblers was capable of producing one unit every 15 minutes, 4 per hour, or 32 units per day with 99% perfect quality! This was a productivity improvement of more than 4 x. It is only fair to note that due to some long-standing cultural and training issues this cell did not always perform at this level. This company showed exemplary compassion for its workforce and invested in the development of their people and their skill-sets. WIP and finished goods inventories were brought under control, and no additional production staff were hired. Currently the company is feeling the effects of a recession as are most manufacturers. When demand once again increases this high-quality supplier will be capable of meeting it easily with the resources they already have. In full operating mode under peak demand conditions, this new cell will generate additional revenues in the tens of millions of dollars.