Change from batch production to unit flow
The company has been producing in batches for years. They receive parts from various suppliers and assemble some parts of the product and put it in stock, for a few hours or a few days. These semi-finished products are then picked up by other employees and other parts are assembled. Again, the product is put back in stock. In total, to assemble a product, there are 5 stages of assembling and 5 stages of inventorying.
The customer contacted us to ask if his production was effective. The objective is to review production methods to improve productivity.
- For a typical and representative product, observations and measurements are made for each production step and inventory time for the semi-finished products.
- Documentation of these steps and calculation of value-added and non-value-added steps.
- Non-value tasks were 98% of manufacturing time, compared to only 2% of value-added tasks.
- Simulations and measurements of 3 productions of the same product per unit flow including the elimination of non-value-added tasks.
- Comparison between batch and unit flow productions.
- Implementation of the unit flow production.
- Reorganization of the production floor.
- Training was given to each employee.
- Documentation sheets have been created to measure the time of each task and each production in order to maintain and improve new methods.
- Targets and key performance indicators have been put in place.
- Follow-ups were conducted weekly with employees and supervisors to review and maintain the new process.
More than impressive results!
- Reduction of manufacturing costs and the increase in gross profit per unit by more than $ 1.1 million annually.
- The increase of production speed per unit that went from 118 seconds to 20 seconds per unit.
- Significant improvement in production efficiency by eliminating work-in-progress (WIP) and non-value-added tasks.
- Increased employees’ teamwork, sense of belonging and motivation.
- Improvement of ergonomics for employees.
- Improved customer service (production is faster, deliveries are faster).
- Increased customer satisfaction.
- Time reduction between raw materials invoicing and finished products invoicing to customers.
- Increased production capacity (can do more in the same time).
- Production is more in a just-in-time mode.