Manufacturing Capacity Improvement | Daniel Penn Associates

Daniel Penn - Case Study

Manufacturing Capacity Improvement: Equipment Placement, Product Flow and Work Allocation

A designer and manufacturer of steering systems and column components for passenger vehicles, trucks and specialty vehicles needed to improve their manufacturing capacity.

Bad placement of equipment, poor flow of parts and uneven distribution of work was limiting the capacity of the company’s powder coating operation.

Increase productivity in the company’s powder coating line by 15 percent, while determining how to best integrate powder coating into its new ERP software.

Identify process steps for loading and unloading product in the power coating line. Identify wastes in the process and develop improvements to eliminate those wastes and in turn increase productivity and capacity.

Identify activities in and capture times for each key process step. Based on this analysis, map workflow with a spaghetti diagram. Identify areas of wasted time, movement and materials. Define improvements the team is able to implement. Participate in trial runs using the new flow and equipment configuration; make adjustments as needed.

One of the two operators loading the racks had significantly more work than the other two operators in the operation. One shift of operators acted as a team; the other did not. Racks were not organized or clearly identified, so the operators often spent time looking around for them. Parts coming into the powder coating area were often put on the floor or not left in the appropriate place. One of the cell’s conveyors was in the way of the unloading process, forcing longer travel by workers.

Racks were reorganized so they were together by part and staged according to their use. A map was created and posted showing each rack’s position in the loading area and back room. The line’s supervisor now communicates any “rare” jobs that come up in the morning meeting immediately to the coating line so that the racks can be staged before the job arrives. A second inflow conveyor was built to minimize the travel distances for both loading operators. The team developed the operation’s standard work to streamline the operations.

Changes were made to the placement and mechanics of the coating line’s high conveyor, feeder conveyors and unloader to improve product flow and signal when new parts enter the line. Re-work and scrap were separated to two different totes. The cart for racks needing repair was relocated and a log book was added for recording of the date, the repair issue and the person who brought it to the cart.

To enhance the Powder Coating area’s role as a shared source, the cell feeding parts into powder coating now logs part information into the company’s ERP system, which automatically feeds them into the powder coating line and loads them onto racks on a FIFO basis. Completed parts are now logged in by scanning the bar code on new signs above the outflow conveyor.

Changes to the powder coating line’s equipment, processes and workflow resulted in productivity improvements of 8 to 28 percent for individual tasks.