Some of the challenges the aluminum and steel manufacturing industry faces everyday are the timeliness between tasks and the increase in waste it can cause. Our client had a challenge with excess transportation and handling from the producing machinery to the washer flow causing a serious waste problem with oily crates, oily floors and use and waste of plastic lining. As there was so much waste, this job also required the hard work of 5 people.
Processes are not necessarily laid out to facilitate flow. The layout typically evolves from the standpoint of “where will it fit” rather than “how does it need to be laid out to facilitate flow". This approach typically results in multiple types of waste including excess WIP (work in process), handling, transportation, and over-production.
Our client came to us with the determination to eliminate these unnecessary wastes and were ready for a positive change. Together with the help of our LSSE Sr. consultant, the overall goals and objectives were:
– Implement 1 safety & ergonomic improvements per team member
– Improve Productivity by 20%
– Reduce Lead Time & WIP
– Implement Standard Work for all operations
LSSE utilized the kaizen approach to address the challenges. A Kaizen event focuses the work efforts of 8 to 10 people to come together and implement the solution to a problem. This is accomplished with 3-4 weeks of preparation, prior to the week-long Kaizen event. Both the consultant and the team members work hard to make sure that everyone is on board with the upcoming changes and that there is a mutual understanding that these changes will carry positive growth in the company.
The team came up with a layout where the operations were relocated side by side, thus eliminating the transportation, handling, and batching associated with moving the WIP between machines. In addition, this helped remove the cleaning of oily crates, floors and usage of plastic lining. Also, they optimized processes based on takt time and improved productivity by 60%.
By using the lean tools taught by our consultant, our client was able to integrate its process through eliminating cleanup, transportation time, and overproduction in inventory. The 5-day process improvement event could not have been successful without the dedication of the cross functional team members being able to identify the issues and with help implementing the changes through lean steps. By utilizing the lean methods in the changes that needed to occur, each person participating felt valued and excited for what is to come.
KAIZEN EVENT RESULTS