Lean Improvement Success at a Jobbing Manufacture Machine Shop

Lean Consultants with Lean Manufacturing Consulting Services to rapidly deliver successful Lean Manufacturing Improvements

 


 

Old style jobbing machine shops are prime opportunities for Lean improvements. Traditional layouts involve single function machines like lathes, drills and mills working seperately, with work moving in-batch from one machining step to the other. Such a layout is often wrongly justified because the workplace is seen as a job-by-job shop where each job is different and one cannot know the routing a particular job will take. This wrong view was addressed last century with Group Technology methodology that justified using machining cells for all similar designed parts.

 

LRS Lean Consultants did process improvement on P&H jobbing machine shop process flow

 

But by far the greatest problem was late deliveries from the machine shop to customers. Few jobs left the machine shop on time, as scheduled.

Our assignment was to identify opportunities to improve the workflow and speed the processing times from order placement, through raw materials procurement, to manufacture and final delivery at the customer site. You can view the Machining Shop Interim Report and see our long list of recommendations to speed parts making.

Drawing the current state map for the machine shop was the first activity undertaken by our Lean Consultant. From a Client placing their order through the scheduling, supplied parts purchasing, workshop machining, inspection, assembly and delivery to Client, the whole manufacturing workflow process was mapped.

The machining phase was itself process mapped and flowcharted step-by-step to look at three variables: the range of work activities, work times and materials movement for each machine. Timesheets were kept for all jobs on a machine but they captured cumulative work times and not individual task times. Since no information was available to identify variation in task activities, data was captured by observing the work performed at the machining stations over several days and through discussions with machinists about the jobs they worked-on and the range of times it took to a job and the casues of variations. There were many reasons for work time variations, such as no tooling, lost tools, poorly maintained cutting tools, no raw material available, waiting for the forklift to transport items about, and far more losses and wastes.

Spaghetti diagrams of movements throughout the machine shop and factory site were drawn and distances calculated. It was found that forklift movements of raw materials from storage at one end of the site to the machine shop, and then into the finished goods warehouse from where they were finally despatched was annually equivalent to 8 weeks; long enough to drive the forklift the 3,939 kilometers from Perth to Sydney each year. Our Lean Consultant recommended to relocate storage of raw materials and finished goods much closer to the machine shop and start using a kanban supermarket in the workshop to issue parts from the cutting saws to the rest of the workshop for machining.

The greatest challenge was to understand why so many parts were leaving the machine shop late. The routing for each part was available and it had estimated times allocated fairly for each machining operation. The Production Scheduler ran a scheduling system and entered every job into the schedule which estimated the delivery date from the shop. But hardly any job was ever completed on time.

Our Lean Consultant value stream mapped the machining process and discovered a strange thing. Urgent jobs (urgent because they were overdue) were regularly scheduled at the front of the job queue thereby moving every job in the queue back an equal amount of time. This continual queue jumping by urgent work was making every job in the whole shop run late.

Once the job queuing problem was identified our Lean Consultant suggested a change in the job scheduling rules. Urgent jobs were not to go to the head of the queue but were instead to replace the nearest non-urgent job(s) near the head of the work queue while leaving all other work before them untouched in the queue. The non-urgent job would then be rescheduled further back in the queue in time to meet its delivery date. By preventing queue jumping with urgent work only one job would be late and not every job run late.

This is our speciality—making Lean work in your company by recovering the hidden-factory you have, and turning what was waste into new, handsome profits for your business. Contact Us now and start working on your great and successful Lean future today.

 

My best regards to you,

Mike Sondalini
Managing Director
Lifetime Reliability Solutions

 

Past clients include:

Lifetime Reliability manufacturing consultants did lean manufacturing improvements at Smorgon Steel workshops, Perth, Western Australia
Smorgon Steel Reinforcing
Perth, Western Australia
Lifetime Reliability manufacturing consultants did lean manufacturing improvements at P&H Minepro workshops, Perth,	Western Australia
P&H MinePro Manufacturing Workshops
Perth, Western Australia and Cairns Maintenance Workshop, Queensland, Australia
Lifetime Reliability manufacturing consultants did lean manufacturing improvements at Imdex workshops, Perth, Western Australia
Imdex Limited
Perth, Western Australia
LRS Consultants (Australia) did lean value stream mapping for Bosston Autobodies, Perth, Western Australia
Bosston Autobodies
Perth, Western Australia
LRS Consultants (Australia) did lean value stream mapping at Park Body Builders workshops, Perth,	Western Australia
Park Body Builders Workshops
Perth, Western Australia