Lean & Cellular Manufacturing
  • A maker of commercial kitchen equipment was converting from process departments to manufacturing cells. We trained teams to plan and implement their own cells. More than 20 were installed and assembly conveyors removed. Typical results: Lead times cut from 30 days to 2 hours; component travel from 5,000 feet to 50; operator efficiency increased by 40%.
  • An automotive manufacturer was converting a large parts plant to lean manufacturing. We helped to define focused factories with closely coupled cells and single-piece flow. Results: daily production raised 70% without new machinery; staffing and floor space reduced 11%, cost per piece reduced by 18%. Planning team included union members and shop stewards.
  • A manufacturer of school buses and motor homes was contemplating its first work cell. The challenge: which of several thousand sheet metal parts to include? We helped plan and implement the cell. Results: Reduced material moves from 12 to 3, and distance traveled by 89%. Lot sizes were cut 50%; lead times cut 50%; and cycle times cut 85%. Labor efficiency rose 39%.
  • A manufacturer of refrigeration valves was building a new plant. Goals: significant improvements in flow time, material handling, and work in process. We defined a process for making thousands of different valve styles in eight linked cells. We also identified hundreds of parts that should not be made in cells.
  • A global manufacturer of automotive parts was implementing lean manufacturing at a new plant in China. We planned a layout of linked cells, supported by supermarkets and returnable parts containers. Traditional forklift traffic was eliminated outside of dock areas. Our planning methods were later incorporated into this client’s corporate manufacturing system.
  • A growing publisher and distributor of educational media needed a top-to-bottom redesign of its manufacturing process. We applied value stream mapping to visualize a lean manufacturing system, define necessary changes, and implement them on the plant floor. Scope included: load leveling, kanban system, one-piece flow, work cell design, and housekeeping.