MRC - Manufacturers Resource Center

 

Innovative Office

 

MRC conducts Kaizen and VSM at Innovative Office to achieve significant outcomes in productivity, reduction in floor space, and WIP inventory

Innovative Office Products is the leading manufacturer of ergonomic, space-saving arms and mounts for flat panel monitors, notebooks and tablet PCs. The company has 140 employees and is located in Easton, Pa.

Situation
The main arm assembly department is complicated with excessive inventory in the assembly area itself and needs to decrease on hand inventory to support daily production.  The overall Process lead-time is too long to support the frequent short lead-time customer orders and inventory and too large to support the change in business needs.  Additionally, the production methods associated with larger batch sizes appear to be causing a missing parts problem in the final packing area of the department.

Solution

  • Prior to the Kaizen event, we established a current state Value Stream Map and identified areas of opportunity.
    • Inventory ahead of the department was not managed through KanBans or supermarkets.
    • There were dedicated machines supporting this Value Stream in other areas of the plant which were contributing to the extended process lead-time as well as excessive inventory. The channel machining operation was one such machine.
    • An opportunity to create a dedicated work cell was uncovered that could be incorporated easily into this Value Stream and further reduce the inventory as well as process lead-time.  As a result we designed and built a simple machine in house that had effectively no set-up required and eliminated another large amount of inventory.
  • We created a few possible future state VSM’s with the team that would participate in the Kaizen event.  During the Kaizen event, the team agreed on a future state map, identified what steps needed to be taken during the week, and noted what room was needed for the departmental layout for future additions.
  • During the event, other products from other areas were discovered to be more suitable to be run in this Value Stream. They were identified as items to be added after the event was completed and things were running smoothly again.
  • The final packaging area was completely redesigned to prevent the operator from processing more than one carton at a time.  A scale was incorporated into the process that prevents the carton from being taped closed unless it meets the weight target of the packed carton with a poke-a-yoke device in the process.
  • All excess materials were removed from the department.
  • Both internal and external KanBans were re-evaluated and updated as well as expanded for better more real-time process control.
  • Developed a simple PC-based system to communicate to the four different process starting points that feed the Arm Assembly station in sequence into the assembly station with exactly what was needed and in the sequence that was needed in order to prevent excessive materials from being built.
  • Assembly workstation instructions were updated to include updated PM, visual QA sheets, and all in process KanBan areas were redone and reduced.
  • After the Kaizen event, we installed Andon Lights in the warehouse for improved visual management for KanBan replenishment as well as other maintenance and supervisory needs.
  • After the Kaizen event, we finalized the end cap drilling machine and incorporated it into the Arm Assembly Value Stream.

Results

  • Productivity improved 33% with the additional operations incorporated into the work center.
  • Floor space requirements were reduced by 51%.
  • After both the channel drill machine and end cap drilling machines were incorporated into the process and WIP was depleted (a process that took us an additional 3 weeks), we reduced the overall WIP inventory by 71%.  In addition, we completely implemented the Inter Departmental KanBans and other supply KanBan programs identified during the Kaizen event.  Ninety days after the implementation of the process changes, missing parts claims in this department were reduced 97%.