Case Study 2 – Assembly Line
We worked on this second Lean project with an employee who had been working in Glen Dimplex stores for over 6 years. He was the first person to work in the metal stores. As a result, he could clearly see what was happening on the assembly line on a daily basis.
This team member was able to see why production runs were often not completed. In addition, he knew that Lean tools would help to run things more efficiently as he had seen them in action in other areas of the factory.
Some of the key challenges identified for this project were:
- Line stoppages due to stock out of painted parts.
- High downtime costs.
- Excessive firefighting and repeat communications.
- No reliable checks done prior to production start.
- No kitting or Kanban system in place.
- Parts in unsuitable batch sizes and containers.
The Current State
- Cost per hour of downtime €24
- 160 hours lost to downtime
- Over 3 months a loss of €3,845 in Labour Costs
8-Step Problem-Solving Process
In trying to solve a particular problem, we advise using the 8-Step Problem-Solving Process:
- Current State
- Root Cause Analysis
- Select Countermeasures
- Standardisation & Learnings
First of all, we collaborated with the company to set up a Brainstorming Event. The team presented the problem statement and current process. We asked everyone for their opinions and they wrote their ideas (big and small) on post-it notes.
Then, we put all these ideas on an Impact/Ease Chart to assess the potential impact or benefits they will have on the company. The result is a visual representation of where best to assign time and resources. We don’t discard any issues as their assessment may change over time as other problems are resolved. Therefore, we can summarise these four activities as follows:
- Just Do It – these ideas have high impact and are easy to do now.
- Why Not? – these issues have low impact and are easy to address.
- Projects – ideas that have high impact but are difficult to address.
- Not Now – issues that have low impact and are also difficult to address.
- First of all, the team changed the layout of the metal stores.
- Next, they wanted to batch size the metal parts.
- In addition, the team put them in more suitable containers.
- Then, they updated the labels.
- Subsequently, the business introduced a kitting system (Kanban for runs over 300).
- Glen Dimplex have reported better communication between the Stores and Planning Departments.
- There were 2 successful runs since making the changes.
- Moreover, there have been no stock outs or downtime.
- Most importantly, the company confirmed they were considering rolling these actions out to other areas of the factory.
Before Paint Plant Storage Area
After Paint Plant Storage Area
We firmly believe that the expertise to develop business process improvements already exist in every organisation. This has clearly been the case in Glen Dimplex. Through their employees’ Lean projects, the company has made significant continuous improvements to their business.
ETAC Solutions has worked with Glen Dimplex to streamline their business and improve their processes. We hope you enjoyed reading about this case study on Assembly Line. You may be interested in reading the two other case studies featured here Case Study 1 – Changeover Times and Case Study 3 – Design Projects. All our case studies are available here.