Industrial manufacturer uses 3P for project success

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New England Lean Consulting helped facilitate a multi-day 3P (Production Preparation Process) event for a Connecticut industrial manufacturer that helped them deliver their product under budget and faster than originally quoted to their customer.

Problem Statement:  The company won a new piece of business from a new customer that would increase the gross annual sales of the entire plant by over 20% per year (We know – that’s a great problem to have!). The customer demand rate was more than TRIPLE that of their current highest production line, so they knew they knew they had to get it right from the beginning. That’s when they called us.

Deliverables: Deliver an assembly line layout that supported: 1. customer demand rate, 2. one-piece flow for quality and efficiency reasons, and 3. proper ergonomic considerations for front line workers. Accomplish this while gaining buy in from a cross-functional team including manufacturing engineers, part designers, assemblers, project managers and shop floor supervision. By including all applicable disciplines, we ensured that all perspectives were taken into account, which guaranteed that we wouldn’t miss anything during the process of laying out the line.

Outcomes:  The team used all the materials they had at their disposal to mock up the line and mimic the assembly process. When actual part samples or equipment were not available, they used other materials (PVC pipe, cardboard, other “like” products) to mimic the size and shape of the missing components. Once the line was setup, it went through several iterations in order to meet Design for Manufacturability (DFM) and Design for Assembly (DFA) so that the frontline workers would be able to meet the customer demand rate.

Overall, the team identified and implemented 21 design and layout changes that allowed them to not only meet the customer’s quality and throughput requirements, but ultimately launch the product 3 months ahead of schedule and well under the initial budget. Our client’s customer was so pleased with the outcome that they immediately sent them more business to quote!

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