OVERVIEW

Reducing production waste while improving efficiency and safety

A US hybrid electric luxury automotive group experiencing poor internal material management practices hired us to help plan, design, and implement an effective material replenishment strategy for their company. The client’s main objectives were to reduce material handling wastes and optimize line-side material presentation to the benefit of the operator.

HOW WE HELPED

The FTE team:

  • Led the client team through the in-house design, build, and implementation of dozens of material delivery and line-side storage racks to address parts damage and ergonomics issues while improving visual management and operator efficiency
  • Developed an internal part racking and part presentation standard to maintain best practices and to ensure continued alignment with the new strategy
  • Reconfigured warehouse storage from random addressing to fixed addressing and assigned storage addresses to optimize picking and kitting routes
  • Utilized FTE’s Visual Project Management toolset to coordinate project activities and communicate status throughout execution

After initial implementation, FTE Performance provided guidance and support while the client continued to propagate the improved material replenishment strategy throughout the operation, further realizing gains in cost and efficiency.

RESULTS
  • All racks designed to comply with Ergonomic guidelines
  • Damage during line-side delivery eliminated
  • Estimated waste elimination of 800 minutes per job
  • New picking and kitting processes saved $275k in material handling labor costs
  • Improved employee engagement

Challenges

Poorly optimized packaging combined with excessive parts handling was resulting in damage to expensive components for our automotive manufacturing client. An inefficient materials handling workflow was also determined to be a contributing factor.

Solution: Reduce handling and improve packaging

The FTE client team introduced a direct repacking process and coordinated part picking routes to reduce the steps needed to deliver components to mobile line-side racks. Damage to component parts was reduced even further by adding parts protection directly into line-side rack designs. In addition to reducing damage to component parts, these improvements resulted in an 800 minute reduction in non-value-added activity per-job.

BEFORE

Parts wrapped in warehouse before delivery and unwrapped again at point of driving unnecessary labor and material.

AFTER

Parts delivered unwrapped in protective foam pockets, saving considerable process time

Generic transport racks were not fully optimized for production line-side parts presentation. As a result, more physical effort was required for workers in the production workflow. The client’s attempts to resolve this problem with one-off custom racks only added unnecessary cost to the equation.

Solution: Standardize and improve rack design to optimize the picking process

The FTE team worked with the client to standardize on a cost-effective modular transport rack design to help optimize the picking process. The modular design allowed the client to reuse the existing shipment packaging and eliminate an entire parts re-packaging step in the workflow. The resulting optimized picking process helped save the client $250K in annual labor costs.

BEFORE

Line-side part quantities not visually indicated. Cannot identify missing parts until they are picked in station.

AFTER

Exactly three jobs organized such that missing parts are visually identified and help chain is notified.

The client’s inefficient warehouse configuration and storage practices were time consuming and labor intensive. These factors had a direct impact on the parts kitting process. Non-linear picking paths and random parts storage locations in the warehouse increased picking times

Solution: Improve warehouse storage and kitting practices

The FTE team helped improve warehouse storage efficiency by establishing fixed addresses for component parts and arrangement by final installation. These improvements helped reduce part picking times. Kitted parts were positioned on line-side racks to improve picking linearity, ergonomics, and efficiency. These improvements saved the client $250K in annual labor costs.

FTE Performance’s Output

The FTE team redefined the client’s picking, kitting and sequencing processes and documented all necessary improvements. Along with optimizing picking routes and warehouse storage locations, the team was able to deliver 240 kitting and line-side delivery racks built in-house to a new standard, impacting multiple categories of operations performance.

SAFETY
Over 30 existing ergonomic concerns were eliminated by improving part presentation.
QUALITY
Mutilation due to internal material handling of the worst four components was eliminated.
DELIVERY
The redesigned part presentation process and elimination of operator unpacking reduced waste by 800 minutes per job.
COST
The optimized picking process and routes led to warehouse labor reduction savings of $250k annually.
SERVICES PROVIDED