Cable Manufacturing: Coaxial/Rigid


This global leader producing a wide variety of cables and assemblies needed to reduce setup times & WIP (work in process) inventory. They also struggled with quality consistency issues that warranted immediate attention. Long product runs were common, but did not allow sufficient flexibility to reduce lead-time to market.

Lean Solutions:

We first attended to the setup and changeover functions of essential equipment and found a number of ways to streamline the process. These methods were then applied to similar equipment. We then established KanBansbetween cable processing functions that required upstream processes to stop building product that could not be completed because resources/equipment were running at capacity. This of course, forced attention to the upstream (constraining) processes and equipment. We level-loaded the production via the KanBans established and the new procedures implemented. As always 5S (Visual Workplace), methods were used to clean and organize the machines and areas for maximum efficiency and very quick changes. An improved “1st article” process was created and adopted to insure that a product that would eventually be as much as 2000 feet long and consume a considerable amount of production time and materials was “near perfect.” Staging procedures and preparation checklists were instituted to maintain quality and process integrity and follow-through.

Lean Impact/Results:

Immediate gains were realized in machine setups which prior to the Blitz Event were ranging from 3 to 12 hours, 5 hours on average, (from taking off the “old job” to successfully testing the “new job” 1st article). At last check setups averaged under 35 minutes, with many below 17 minutes. This added approximately 5 hours of additional up-time per machine, per day. This number would be higher but the ease of setups/changeoversdef.htm allowed for more flexibility to the product mix a very desirable result, which consequently, increased changeovers. Quality checks for 1st articles that could take an hour or more were prioritized and all staff and equipment were subordinated to their rapid completion. “Known” products were given a “conditional green light” to continue production while the 1st article check was being conducted. This added considerably to the daily up-time. “Un-known or un-proven products” were required to pass certain checks before production could continue. Current equipment was deemed sufficient to meet present demand and forecasted sales expectations for quite some time. The teamwork and contributions of those involved in these improvements were impressive by any standards. These improvements increased the capacity of this product line by approximately 35%, resulting in several million dollars of potential additional sales per year.

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