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10 Steps to Lean Manufacturing Success
Step  7 of 10

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Lean Manufacturing Articles


Step Seven requires the use of changeover teams that op­erate like the Indianapolis 500 pit crew and that have been trained and certified in their ability to work as a team. Quick changeovers have an objective of reducing setup time to minutes or zero by preplanning and improving prod­uct and process designs. External work is performed prior to the need to changeover, and efforts have been made to convert internal to external work. The need for adjustment is elimi­nated by having a system in place for advance setup and verification of any fixtures or programs. Quick changeovers are key to achieving the full benefits of single-piece flow through an operation, and the goal is to complete the changeover within cycle time. "Without a doubt, setup reduction is one of the most important foundations for superior manufacturing. Every company should have an aggressive program to achieve it, and should plan and accomplish rapid payback, thus financ­ing additional improvement."

A farm equipment manufacturer had focused on minimizing indirect labor. This resulted in machine operators becoming their own material handlers, and required them to obtain tools, fixtures, and parts for changeovers while equipment sat idle. This focus on minimizing indirect labor caused an inconsistent mate­rial flow and high levels of work in process inventories between operations. The poor utilization of machines was a major contributor to the company consistently missing delivery commitments. The company's leadership realized they had to change to stay in business, and shifted to a focus on improving "material velocity" through the factory. Material handlers were added to allow the operator to stay at the machine, and quick changeover teams were established that ensured the re­quired material, tools, and fixtures were ready prior to need. Prior to the changeover, the programs for the next part have been verified and downloaded, and all required documentation, material, tools, and fixtures have been delivered to the operation. During a changeover, one team member makes the material exchange, and the supervisor changes required documentation while the operator changes tooling. These actions to reduce changeover time and the incorporation of other lean manufacturing principles reduced throughput time by 70 percent and improved customer fill rate to over 90 percent.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 14

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