The stated objective of this paper is two fold.
First, I would like to describe the basis of a successful
implementation of throughput reduction in an electronic assembly.
The assembly is relatively complex and required some significant
effort among various disciplines at the medical electronics
manufacturing firm where the activity took place. The second, and
without a doubt, the most important objective, is to encourage the
reader to begin a program in their own operation to reduce waste,
including excessive throughput time, for their product in order to
be more competitive in the domestic as well as the rapidly
expanding global economy.
Capturing your interest in a successful
throughput reduction program is secondary to successfully
encouraging you to move forward and begin a pilot program within
your own organization.
As this successful manufacturing organization
moved beyond implementation of Class A MRPII into the area of JIT
production techniques, rumblings began to be heard from the
marketing and sales organization. Lengthy leadtimes that we were
quoting to our customers were no longer acceptable. Competition
began to appear more responsive in a way that we were not prepared
to operate. It became all too obvious that in our market place as
well as others noted in the literature that we would not be able
to continue with the leadtimes that existed in our manufacturing
operation at the time.
A group of individuals came together to explore
the possibilities of doing a pilot program in leadtime reduction.
Coupling that activity with a number of other objectives, eg,
inventory reduction, quality improvement, documentation upgrade,
etc.,the team structured a pilot program.
Cutting directly to the chase, the following
lists of characteristics describe this particular electronic
assembly prior to the process that we followed in trying to
accomplish the multiple objectives noted above. The first list
indicates the measured conditions at the beginning of this
1. Linear travel required 19,000ft.
2. WIP level $600,000
3. Dedicated MRP stock $400,000
4. Lead time 35 days
5. Material inspection 100%
6. Unique Inventory $300,000
7. Standard labor and material 100%
After significant effort in a team environment,
the second identical list of characteristics provides an insight
into what results were realized in this pilot program.
1. Linear travel required 1,500 ft.
2. WIP level $120,,000
3. Dedicated MRP stock $300,000
4. Lead time 7 days
5. Material inspection 56%
6. Unique Inventory $30,000
7. Standard labor and material 80%
As you can see by comparing these two lists of
information that we were able to significantly reduce investment
levels. Investments in both materials and brick and mortar,
dedicated to this particular assembly were so significant that a
new product was, for all practical purposes, provided free space
and reduced cost inventory. Throughput was reduced by a factor of
five and reductions in standard cost was realized. I would like to
point out that these results are not unique. Similar results were
experienced in other areas of the production operations.
Three lessons are important to note at this time:
1. These results were not achieved overnight.
The team was in session for more than four months. This is
actual lapse time and does not count the training time for each
individual or the previous 18-month involvement in learning to
operate in a team environment.
2. Metrics are a crucial part of any
successful program and the same holds true for our throughput
reduction process. The before and after views become important
to each team member.
3. Not all efforts will be successful. We had our frustrations;
however, we continued to move forward with the idea that every
element of the production process must undergo the same type of
metamorphosis that we had experienced in the pilot program.
To be Continued
stay current on bullet-proofed manufacturing solutions, subscribe to
ezine, "The Business Basics and Best Practices Bulletin."
Simply fill in the below form and click on the subscribe button.
also send you our free
Special Report, "Five Change
Initiatives for Personal and Company Success."
personal information will never
be disclosed to any third party.
leaders have a responsibility to educate and train their team
members. Help for developing a self-directed, World Class
Manufacturing training program for your people is just a click
are welcomed to print and share this bulletin with your
manufacturing teams, peers, suppliers and upper management ...
better yet, have them signup for their own copy at:
the escalating spam-wars, it's also a good idea to WHITELIST
our bulletin mailing domain via your filtering software or
This will help guarantee that your bulletin is never deleted
Knowledge you’ll not find at offsite
seminars nor in the books at Amazon.com
Lean Manufacturing - Balanced Scorecard
ISO 9000:2000 - Strategic Planning - Supply Chain
Management - MRP Vs Lean Exercises - Kaizen Blitz
Lean Six Sigma - Value Stream Mapping
All at one Website: Good
Six Sigma Training Thinking
Out of the Box
Supply Chain Inventory Management Total
Quality Management Principles
Manufacturing Implementation Lean