- Losing customers and losing business. Crisis situation.
- Unable to win new contracts and bring in new business.
- Costs were too high.
- Deliveries unpredictable. OTD was too low.
- WIP too high.
- Apathetic work force with a “can’t do” attitude.
- New business.
- A more predictable operation that could meet delivery commitments.
- A reduction in costs and improvement in asset utilizations.
- Higher throughput where there is less cost per unit produced.
The Level I Eight Week Project:
- Created a committed team where there were standards set on behaviors and language.
- Set a standard of collaboration where the team met for 5 days straight in a Lean Process Razing Kiazen. Past lean events failed to produce results, because of a lack of proper time commitment and resource commitment.
- All unnecessary equipment, tools, and trash were removed in a 5S like activity. Dumpsters worth of junk were removed in a couple of days.
- A new work flow was established along with reorganization of the equipment.
- The team simulated work flows to figure out how to run different part numbers through the newly designed work cell. The team came up with a highly innovative and advanced approach which dramatically increased utilizations of equipment, improved throughput, without negatively impacting cycle times.
- The team helped operations sell the new work environment by telling them how it would help them, be more secure for them, and make their work more valuable.
- Constraints were identified by part number family, and takt times where established. This allowed for realistic production loading, efficient backlog management, and setting realistic customer delivery commitments.
- The new cell was operationally within a week and up to full production throughput within two weeks.
- Operators were trained by the team and encouraged to take ownership of the cell and start implementing their own improvements.
- The business was saved. Instead of firing people to try to cut costs, the business grew and became profitable for the first time in over ten years.
- WIP was reduced by 70%, throughput was increased by over 100%, cycle times were reduced by over 50%, costs were reduced by over 25%.
- The plant went from being below capacity to at capacity and then beyond.
- The team, on their own initiative and their own leadership, conducted similar projects and converted the entire plant floor to work cells.
- The work force went from apathetic to enthusiastic and engaged.