One of the main focuses of a strong Continuous Improvement program is incorporating lean processes to eliminate waste. “The Dawn of SMED” project was one of MPE’s C.I./Lean initiatives to improve through-put within our Forming Department to meet our clients’ product delivery needs and increase our capacity within that department.
The C.I. Team’s goal was to reduce set-up time by 50% within the Forming department. The team employed the strategy of “Divide and Conquer” to achieve their goal. This involved identifying external and internal activities that were required within the department and make improvements in both.
External activities are those that can be completed while the equipment is running; internal activities must be completed while the equipment is idle/not running.
Through time studies and observations, “The Dawn of SMED” Team was able to determine the external activities that could be removed from the machine operator’s tasks to reduce the down-time of the equipment. Those tasks were re-assigned to an indirect position that could perform the external activities for all equipment within the department, resulting in better utilization of the equipment and our skilled press-brake operators.
In addition, the development and implementation of a standard change-over process for the internal activities greatly reduced the amount of time the equipment was idle while the machine operator was performing their set-up steps.
The highlighted accomplishments within the Forming Department from this project are:
50% reduction of set-up times
40% increase in through-put for the department and
increased capacity without adding more operators
30% reduction of material scrapped due to standardization of set-ups
“The Dawn of SMED” team has achieved the initial goal set for them. Our C.I. efforts are now focused on what additional lean techniques can be applied to further improve this department’s performance. We are also looking to identify where this team’s strategy can be implemented in other areas of our operations.
Continuous improvement (CI): an ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes. At MPE, CI is part of our culture. At any one time, more than 65% of our entire workforce is involved with a Continuous Improvement project. Our CI teams challenge all facets of our operations and look for ways to simply put, get better. It’s a big part of MPE’s commitment to improve customer value and satisfaction, quality, flexibility, speed to market and reduced costs.
We will periodically share some of our success stories and let you know what we’re working on. Perhaps it will spark some Continuous Improvement ideas for your organization.