Improved Throughput Results in Costs Savings and Improved Productivity
Located in Jamestown, ND, Champ Industries, a family-owned company founded in 1992, is structured for partnerships with OEMs and Tier One Suppliers in medium-to-high volume fabrication and assembly of common and stainless steel, aluminum, carbon steel sheet/tube metal, including laser cutting, forming, welding, assembly and painting. Another niche capability of the company is enabling first article/prototyping for its customers - working with their designs and/or engineers to prove out their concepts prior to production. The company is continuously working on deploying operational best practices specifically targeted towards continual improvement.
Their mission statement is, “Together we provide great products through Experience and Technology — building relationships for the future.”
The company was looking for ways to improve product throughput which required analysis of different processes throughout the value stream. The initial visit by Impact Dakota and conversation with stakeholders highlighted the excessive inventory levels and material handling. Further discussion lead to identifying and confirming that the company’s CNC break press is a bottleneck operation, impacting the throughput. A combination of scheduling practices and the shop floor mentality to make as much as possible were partially contributing to less than optimal flow of materials through the CNC break press therefore negatively impacting the throughput.
Based on client's needs, Impact Dakota developed a proposal for design and delivery of training materials and coaching in conducting a kaizen event in support of improving throughput. The training included a basic overview of Theory of Constraints and basics of LEAN including Pull/Kanban system. The projects focused on improving the performance of the Brake Press operation, which was identified as the facility’s constraint. Measures were put in place to make the best use of the brake press which also included evaluating upstream and downstream operations and supporting information flow. Prior to the start of training Impact Dakota and Champ Industries identified critical metrics necessary to determine the degree of improvements and means for on-going monitoring of those improvements. Such metrics included improving throughput, space saved, WIP reduction, and reduction of material handling. During the course of this project improvement in such matrices were discussed and employees input was solicited as to how to further improve such matrices.
Cost Savings - Savings have resulted from multiple areas. Work-in-process inventory levels are down from 3-4 weeks to 1.5 weeks, a 50+% reduction. Incorporating new visibility of the production scheduling process and refined way of processing work based on scheduled start dates. By refining the production order, late deliveries and expedites dropped markedly, substantially reducing administrative rescheduling and customer complaints by nearly 60%.
General/Other - Delivery lead time has been reduced due to improved scheduling of products through the break press as well as supporting its upstream and downstream processes. The average delivery time has been reduced from 2 days to 1 day, a 50% reduction. This has also had impact on shipping costs by avoiding occasional expedited shipping.
Increased Productivity - The original behavior involved consolidating similar materials in an effort to "reduce set-ups". This practice resulted in production of some orders too early or too late which also led to excessive efforts expediting to regain schedule control. The improved scheduling of orders through the brake press area is now based on the customer delivery schedule. The cost savings outlined above are a result of processing the right work in the correct order to the schedule, thus eliminating unnecessary "expedite" set-up and unnecessary interruptions.
“It was truly a pleasure working with Impact Dakota and Reza on this project. He was able to sort through the current ‘paradigms’ with our brake operation to help the team visualize how minor steps can have large results. My thanks to Reza and his team!”
—Fred Kainz, Plant Manager/Department Head