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Arthur Byrne

Art Byrne: First link the logical value streams through product families, then get change over times under 10 mins

By Arthur Byrne, - Last updated: Saturday, October 13, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

I assume that the parts made in the press shop are being consumed in the assembly shop. We had the same situation when I first joined Wiremold. We knew we wanted to get to a flow operation starting with the presses and going all the way to the finished box. We had a painting operation in between so it was even  a little more complicated. Where you want to go is to move the assembly operations to the ends of the presses so that parts can be finished from raw material to in the box as quickly as possible. You are far from that now so lets think of it in a couple of steps. First of all what are the logical value streams or product families that can be linked together and given to a value stream manager? For example if product family number 1. requires 3 punch presses and one assembly line and two sub assembly lines then think about how to link them all together in the same area as close as possible. [this will most likely result in moving assembly into the press room or moving the three presses into the current assembly area]. Lets also assume that this is your biggest product family so this is the right place to start. You can’t have flow with long set up times so your first task is to get the set up times of all three machines under 10 minutes. This is pretty easy but you should expect resistance, “under 10 minutes? Are you nuts?” You should then keep going to get the set ups closer to 1 minute but under 10 minutes will get you started .Presses are inherently batch machines so you may need a small supermarket of parts to keep assembly going. This can require kanban. Your key thrust however is set up reduction and getting press and assembly operations right next to each other to maximize flow, reduce space, cut lead time and maximize visual control. Stop thinking in terms of always having a press shop and an assembly shop. This just perpetuates a functional organization and is not lean. Have fun, this will give you major gains.

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