Over a decade-long relationship with a fortune 500 customer, LandrumHR supports them through insourcing all logistics-related processes at their Pensacola, FL location. One moving assembly line within the plant has historically underperformed the rest of the site when it comes to on-time delivery due to the many complexities and the mix of materials and prep work required to sustain production. The assembly line being fed downstream has stationary working areas and the line itself “pulses” moving from station to station every 220 minutes on average much like an automotive moving line would do. The client tasked Landrum with facilitating a Kaizen in order to improve the consistency of material being delivered to the line and to ensure product is delivered to the right station, with the exact amount needed, meeting the right quality standards, and “Just in Time” (JIT) for the next pulse.
In order to track performance, Landrum needed to identify Takt based on the daily production goal as well as the cycle times of each operator’s process. Takt times changed weekly due to demand shifts and production schedule changes because of material shortages and order modifications. They also needed to understand how many takt misses occurred previously and what trends were noticed around why that was missed. “Material misses,” which include delivering material late and damaged/missing material to the line also needed to be tracked and reported. The current process included delivery of pre-made, off-site kits as well as individual component pieces from the warehouse to a staging area in bulk that needed to be kitted/re-kitted for line readiness. It was thought that a major issue was having excess material inventory, which increased chaos and confusion since the area did not support any bulk storage. Additionally, JIT was not being realized and delivery priority for each kit was not clear. Before formally facilitating the Kaizen, part of the data collection research was to determine how many part numbers, kits, carts, Kanban items, pallets, and returnable containers were currently used in this area.
Landrum facilitated a 3P (Production, Preparation & Process) design kaizen using an AutoCAD-generated paper doll exercise with a multi-departmental Subject Matter Expert (SME) team. This week-long event successfully yielded a floor layout and scheduling process that was developed and approved by the team and the client’s site leadership. They followed up the initial kaizen with a second event geared to identify layout changes and to create a Tier I board highlighting the daily schedule, process flow and resources available. The Kitting area process now resembles that of a NASCAR pit stop. Instead of building carts based on available material, the department builds only to Takt. The intent is to have all 24 carts built 20 minutes before the Takt “Pulse” times. Then, at ten minutes prior to line pulse, all carts are delivered to the line for the entire unit build. This JIT delivery process is an all-hands-on-deck approach requiring a transparent schedule along with operator priority checklists.
Landrum created a complete supermarket process from scratch, making a complex situation simple to execute and easy to follow and train new associates. In doing this, all KPIs became visible and material misses decreased on average by 70% per week, while also creating a significant labor cost savings from not stopping the line while having to wait for parts or to rework poor quality parts. Finally, this event allowed Landrum to build a lean foundation in the Kitting area to support future growth and improve sustainment.