Lean Manufacturing of Connectors
Lean manufacturing is a methodology that focuses on implementing fast flexible processes that give the customer what they want, when they want it, at the highest quality, and at an affordable cost. Lean covers the time from when a customer places an order to when the product is delivered and cash is collected. It involves continuous improvement and the relentless elimination of “waste” in the process. It is a change from traditional “batch and push” manufacturing to pull and flow. Individual operations can be improved by technical means. But the overall combination of operations to make a manufacturing process need lean to be successful.
Lean is not just about cost. It is about 6 attributes: quality, service to the customer, people empowerment, supply chain, efficiency, and maximizing equipment utilization. These attributes are driven by 4 levers: visual management, management routines, problem solving, and metrics. Each lever has corresponding lean tools to apply. Examples of common lean tools include 5S, SMED (quick change), TPM (maintenance), and VSM (Value Stream Mapping) Connector and other manufacturing processes are ideal for lean manufacturing whether job shop or high volume. Spectacular improvements in cost, quality, delivery performance, lead time reduction, inventory reduction, and Capex spending have been realized by many companies. APEX has extensive experience in both connector manufacturing operations and lean manufacturing. HOW APEX CAN HELP: If you need to improve your operations and processes, we can help in two ways.
CONNECTOR MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY EXPERTISE: (plate, stamp, mold, assembly)
- Cost estimates, capital estimates, US versus off-shore comparisons, and hands-on experience
LEAN MANUFACTURING AND LEAN ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERTISE:
- Lean assessments of the factory and office
- Lean Training and workshops
- Tools to support the visual factory and office; red bin, production analysis boards, production film, truck preparation area, small train, supermarkets, milk runs, and product-process matrices
- Tools to support management routines; red bin reviews, pull systems, standard work, TPM (maintenance), and A3 management
- Tools to support problem solving: QRQC (quality workshops), SMED (quick change), VSM (Value Stream Mapping), Work cell redesign, cardboard engineering, factory layout, office layouts, warehouse layouts, and Capex avoidance
- Tools to support metrics: standard lean charts, Key Performance Indicators
EXAMPLES OF APEX LEAN TRANSFORMATIONS:
- A 3-day work cell improv ement workshop provided a 50% reduction in floor space, a 400% productivity gain, and avoided $200K in Capex.
- A 6 day workshop transformed a large area of the manufacturing plant. Floor space was reduced from 156 sq meters to 88. Productivity was tripled. Four work cells were created all achieving continuous flow.
- A 3-day factory workshop in Mexico resulted in a 90% inventory reduction and a tripling of the productivity.
- A SMED workshop resulted in changeover times decreasing from 150 minutes to 50 minutes
- Typical objectives are 50% reductions in inventory along with 50% improvements in productivity and output all with minimal or no investment.