How a factory to improve its efficiency
Posted by: Omnitech (IP Logged)
Date: July 07, 2012 12:38AM
Step 1: stabilization of processes The goal of this first step is to achieve consistency in production, and to show everybody in the factory that changes are not threatening.
These two conditions are necessary before reducing inventory levels and before re-organizing the material flow in depth.
Step 2: improve the product flow
Production should run as continuously as possible. Reduce batch sizes and in-process inventory.
If you have made tooling changeover faster and if the machines don’t break down frequently, it is possible. But keep making efforts to drive batch sizes down.
Step 3: the products follow a certain sequence
Organize delivery from one station to the other in the exact sequence in which it is needed.
This logic should not only apply internally. Work with sub-suppliers if possible, and purchase components in smaller batches. The suppliers need to trust you before they make efforts, so go for single-source and long-term contracts — even if the unit price goes up a little.
Control the components, and send them back if they are defective. Ot seems obvious, but it is very rarely done in China. The boss should not purchase components from his friends!
If critical component suppliers have minimum order quantities that get in the way of lower batch sizes, try to find a way to reduce them.
Step 4: pull, don’t push
Each material should be replenished by upstream processes. Use pull signals , rather than high-tech solutions.
Remember, you don’t need computers to organize the production flow. There are often no computers on the production floor of many Toyota factories. Make everything visual (place graphs on walls…).
Step 5: try to level production
Produce a leveled quantity and mix of products across all the value chain.
Leveling production is a constant battle if demand needs to be forecast. But it is actually not that difficult for manufacturers that produce only after they receive orders, as is usually done in China.