Can’t cope with demand right now! Production – Capacity – Optimisation Part I

Source: 18th March Lean Leadership Way Institute. YOKOTEN series: Contributor: Mark Forkun

Right now, your business is running 24/7.

Production is running flat out and doing everything possible to keep volumes at the maximum possible limit.

Your Supply chain is under incredible pressure to get raw materials and parts in and then to transport finish goods to clients.

HR are dealing with sick leave, new recruits and internal communication issues with employees.

Health & Safety  are ensuring the factory does not close due to COVID -19.

No one is too worried about delivery times and overtime is high but who cares, the price customers are willing to pay has gone through the roof.

You have no time for any Lean improvement right now!. Well, please read on and just maybe this IS the right time to take a leap into serious Lean Leadership development of your business and its employees.

Is this now the time to improve the performance of my production line!

How often have You thought about the need to optimise – production – capacity at least on one of the production lines by introducing flexible (employee) line solutions, rebalancing the line and improving the changeover – SMED.

  1. If you have not performed any of these activities over the last 12 months it is very likely you are underperforming on your Production – Capacity potential by between 10% to 40%, without the need to invest in CAPEX.
  2. Your OPEX hides costs (variable direct and indirect) and wasted process activity giving you higher costs by up to 5% of your yearly sales volume.
  3. When did you last go to genba and check the KPI on changeover times –  SMED. Low volume high mix market demands fast and efficient changeover times. Very often there is a waste buffer here of up to 50% of so called planned down-time. This is will help you increase volume capacity.
  4. Are your production set up lines really working to TPS standards. Rebalance the production lines improves productivity and process/lead times, thereby reducing overtime costs too.
  5. Developing Problem Solving Skills on the Shop Floor during a busy period might sound crazy, but then did you really invest in Lean Problem Solving when things were just ticking along!. Introducing Problem Solving the way which increases Employee Engagement and Personal Development is one of the core principles of a being a great performing company. In other words, for those who really understand this entire concept we are talking about inverting the organisational pyramid.
  6. Introduce basic Flexible Manpower Lines, will give you an increase in employee flexibility and self-reliance. This will also increase production availability.  
  7. Have you been to genba to see what is really happening at TPM down-times. Very often Maintenance department has a time waste buffer here of at least 30% of planned down-time.
  8. Get Maintenance and Production leaders to introduce or improve the Autonomous maintenance (4S) on production. This will also improve Availability and Productivity, increasing OEE to new hights.   
  9. How well is your Kanban system working. Are you hearing too many fairy tales of what is not working but every one is working on the problem but no one really is able to give you the facts!.
  10. How is your Visual management working right now. Did you hear that there is not time for this as there are so many orders. If so, prepare the paper work for whoever said this to leave the company. Better still, march them off the premises yourself. Every shift must have full visual (best use white boards and coloured marker pens) on the boards at the end of each shift. They must show all Safety, Productivity, Quality, Cost and Kaizen outcomes from this shift. Ensure daily stand-up meetings are carried out and 4S is completed by each shift. Follow-up points from kaizen and problems solving boards must be up to date.

“Crisis or no crisis, the above are just some of the key points leaders should be doing all day every day”. If not you are simply under-performing.  

What could we do for you !

Discuss on-line what your “current state” of business is and what you would like to change.

On-site, conduct an immediate Four Stage Operational – Impact Assessment, followed by Results Driven Production- Capacity – Optimisation implementation.

The result

Improvement to Your Production – Capacity – Performance KPI’s  and increased Employee Engagement by working through the Problem Solving issues together.

PART II Article will be on the subject of; (taster to come below)

What can I do to shorten my delivery times to clients!.

Over the past few years business has been so good that one of our biggest challenges was getting stock produced and delivered on time, even if it cost us a little more!.  …………..

This article has been produced with the support of the Lean Leadership Way Institute, within the YOKOTEN principles of sharing best practices.

If you have found this article valuable, please let us know.

Mark Forkun