Improving Pack-and-ship Operations

Daniel Penn - Case Study

DPA Improves Pack-and-ship Operations for
Global Lock Manufacturer

The Client
A global leader in door-opening solutions that produces a variety of specialty, security and access control locks, key systems, door control and exit devices.

The Situation
The company’s UPS packing and shipping area was experiencing delays in fulfilling orders due to significant work in progress (WIP) backlogs and quality defects.

Goals

  • Improve productivity in the company’s pack and ship lines by 30%
  • Reduce shipping pack errors by 50%

Objective
To determine and correct “muda” items: Processes and physical layouts that did not add value and could be streamlined, improved, consolidated or eliminated.

Findings
The Kaizen team began by measuring productivity on the UPS packing line. Walking distances within the line’s 1080-square-foot space contributed to long lead times, a backlog of work in progress (WIP) inventory orders and a higher-than-normal defect rate. They determined that motion and waiting times, transportation times, and over-processing were the biggest culprits.

Actions
Based on their findings, the Kaizen team helped the company configure a new layout for the three pack-and-ship lines. They improved the flow of incoming and outgoing orders by repositioning, reorganizing and better defining the pick-pack-ship stations. Working from a “Kaizen Newspaper” sheet, employees were assigned to manage and report on activities that would support waste-reduction priorities the team had identified.

Results
The Kaizen team helped the company reduce the number of Work in Progress (WIP) orders to prevent errors. They helped define standard work processes for the pack and ship operations. And they provided employees with visual methods to help them continue to measure line productivity and correct future problems.

As a result of the Kaizen team’s effort, the company’s pack-and-ship WIP inventory was reduced by 100%, pack-to-pallet lead times by 98%, walking distance by 76%, quality defects by 74% and waste assessment by 50%. At the same time, the shipping line increased its productivity by 50% and throughput by 15%.

“Due to the collaborative efforts of DPA and site staff, who worked together to identify waste in our system, this improvement event yielded radical process change to the our ship/pack line. The initiative helped us reconfigure our operation to improve flow while reducing the shipping errors to do batching. Our employees have embraced the changes and sustained improvements so far.” – Continuous Improvement Manager.