Cutting Edge Laparoscopic Manufacturer Trims Time off Purchasing Process


Business Challenge: 

Our Client identified their purchasing process as a pain point. The existing process took too long and orders weren’t getting process in a timely manner. As a result, manufacturing operations were sometimes delayed because they didn’t have the supplies needed for production.
They tried to improve the process on their own, but were met with limited success. In an effort to make a breakthrough they contacted LSSE for outside help. A Lean expert from LSSE evaluated the purchasing process and determined that a Kaizen event could greatly improve the existing process. The objectives of this event were to:

  • Reduce the cycle time of creating a PO
  • Reduce the travel distance the document makes by 50%/li>
  • Improve quality of inputs/information coming from purchasing
  • Implement visual control board for monitoring performance
  • Implement 5S
  • Make 1 safety or ergonomic improvement per team member 
How LSSE Helped: 

Together with the help of a cross functional team, LSSE captured the current state process and identified key wastes that could be eliminated during the week-long event. The team then mapped out a future state for the process that is focused on value added activities. By eliminating the waste, purchasers are able to focus on activities that bring value to the organization. One of the objectives in this event was to reduce the travel distance the requests made. The team created an electronic document that eliminated the need for any travel. This document made two major improvements to the process.

First, it increased the quality of the requests by using clearly defined input fields that are critical for the request processer. Second, it made the submission and review of the request electronic so there was no longer a need for anyone to hand carry the request from person to person in order to get approval.

The last actions of the group were to set up a training plan and schedule to introduce the new purchase request tool to the organization. They have begun tracking performance of the new system on a visual management board. This board is posted in a high traffic area so everyone can see it.

Results Delivered: 

The Kaizen event resulted in all the predetermined objectives being met. The processing time for a request was reduced by 61-73%, travel distance for the document was completely eliminated, 5S practices were implemented, and the quality of the inputs for the request went up dramatically.

The goal of Lean events is to decrease lead time. That was one of the defined objectives of this event, but there are other benefits of implementing Lean. As a result of this event, our Client not only reduced the cycle time and travel distance of processing a purchase request, they also created an annualized savings of over $31,000. The goal wasn’t to save any money, but the side benefits of implementing Lean often result in cost savings.