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Improving Productivity And Reducing WIP - Plant In China

THE PROBLEM:

High cost of production and the need to free up manpower for new projects

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

In this case, the assembly line consisted of 90 process steps and 100 operators. The line had several meter lengths of conveyor belts and we did notice that the operators were struggling to cope with the speed of the belt. The sub-assembled parts were transported on small trays and the operators had to pull off the trays from the conveyor belt, work on the parts, and place it back on the conveyor belt. The operators were subjected to high levels of stress while trying to keep up with upstream process steps. Imbalance also created pockets of inventory pile up. This assembly line was identified for a Lean transformation project with a goal of annualized savings of $500 K.

THE SOLUTION:

We lined up several engineering and Lean Six Sigma improvements which included process simplification, line balancing and error proofing of jigs and fixtures. However, the greatest impact was obtained by removing conveyer lines. With the conveyors gone and each downstream operator pulling parts from an upstream operator, we felt the rhythm of a true “pull”. A pull system is one where goods are built only when there is a signal from the downstream process. This is contrary to the traditional push system where upstream operations push parts to the downstream, irrespective of a need downstream.

 THE RESULT:

The change created magic. Not only did we achieve our targets, we also eliminated assembly line noise to create much needed calm. The productivity in terms of parts/hour/person improved from 53 to 43. The WIP reduced from 12000 to 200 pieces. The annualized savings from this project was $500 K

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Pradeep Kumar, Chief Executive

Pradeep Kumar has about three decades of professional experience against his name.  With multi-location and multi-cultural exposure paired with a Master Black Belt in Six Sigma & Lean, Pradeep’s core expertise comes from over a decade of specialization in a large multinational manufacturing company. He is a Certified MBB in Lean and Six Sigma by SBTI, Texas and trained by Mckinsey Consultants as a Lean Practitioner in Rock Hill-USA.

He currently works with large multinational companies, helping them drive Operational Excellence and implement lean strategies. Pradeep also guides senior leadership towards excellence in execution. He has trained candidates in Lean & Six Sigma in India, China, Japan, Thailand, Europe, Middle East, Sri Lanka and the USA; and mentored more than 500 Engineers and Managers in Lean & Six Sigma in India and overseas.  His expertise lies in understanding gaps in current systems, designing more effective processes and mentoring teams to swiftly achieve organizational goals

M.BALAJI, Principal Consultant, Management Systems

Balaji is a Mechanical Engineer with four decades of experience with the last thirteen years in Management consultancy.  His expertise is in Management Systems, with extensive experience in training, auditing and supporting imp mentation of Quality and Environmental Management systems.   He is also a qualified tool designer from NTTF and GTTC.

Balaji keeps abreast of the latest changes in international standards for implementing quality management systems and is a Lead Auditors for ISO 9001, ISO 14001,  ISO 9001, ISO 14001,  ISO 45001, ISO 22163 :2017.  Also auditor for  IATF 16949:2016.  He is a  Lead Assessor : EXIM Bank award for Business Excellence model .  With more than a decade of experience in management consulting, he has conducted 600 man-days of training and 250 man-days of audits; working with more than 35 clients.

ABRAHAM MATHEWS, SENIOR CONSULTANT

Abraham has more than two decades of experience in Quality Management and Operations, including designing quality, environmental and health & safety management systems, managing industrial engineering activities and heading a Plant.  He is an expert auditor of quality systems and in working with teams to implement robust processes that is sustainable.  Having worked in Aerospace and Automotive industry he understands the Industry requirements and is very meticulous in his approach in implementing the required standards.  He is also a trained Lean practitioner and support training and implementing Lean Manufacturing Systems. He also conducts Yellow belt Six Sigma training and supports Green belt training.