A New Look at In-sourcing and Cell Layout Boosts this Manufacturer’s Capacity by 107%
A leading supplier of forgings to Tier I and II aerospace, defense and automotive companies won a significant contract. As the company ramped up a new production process under the contract, they discovered their outsourcing operations resulted in high costs and compromised quality.
The company identified process improvements which would result in lower cost, improved quality and reduced lead time. The engineering staff specified equipment that would enable them to in-source revised operations and reduce travel time and turn time from suppliers. The process team was tasked to pre-test different placement scenarios for the equipment and simulate revised operation sequencing.
DPA facilitated the kaizen team’s work to understand product flow within the company’s facilities and to external suppliers. They identified risks to product quality, production rates, and other supply chain issues of logistics and costs. The team, comprised of the plant manager, operators, and a quality engineer, reviewed the drawings and technical capabilities of all the equipment ordered. The equipment needed to fit into an area near upstream processes. The objective: to ensure one operator could safely and conveniently manage all operations within the process.
The team analyzed the process from the first forging operation, where this process would start, all the way through to the finish and deliver to the customer. They also sent a representative to the equipment supplier to work with equipment design. They laid out several possible arrangements in full size, using cardboard, pallets, and boxes to represent each piece of equipment. Some layouts fit, others required some measure of compromised accessibility to the building, and other options required major infrastructure changes. They also simulated operator motion and activities within the areas to identify operability issues and emergency access.
The team found that the ideal orientation for a cell layout would require some equipment to be modified. Working in consultation with the supplier, the company made changes to the design at a lower cost than the original equipment. They also found that one operator could complete all assigned tasks within their scheduled time. They identified all locations for the equipment’s utilities so that the building could be prepared in advance of its arrival, reducing installation time and accelerating the process development.
Based on their equipment placement and simulation work, the team projects several efficiency improvements for the new operation. In-sourcing of two supplier processes will reduce part travel by 99.8%. Lead times will drop by 60%, and production capacity will increase by 107%. Finally, one operator will be able to perform four operations safely and consistently within his allotted time.