Original Date: 11/12/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Lean Material Stocking System
Frontier Electronic Systems developed the Lean Material Stocking System which eliminates kitting time and provides parts to the assembly floor almost immediately upon receipt. The elimination of this kitting effort reduces manufacturing cycle times and decreases costs to the customer.
Frontier Electronic Systems (FES) designs and manufactures high reliability electronic hardware, primarily for military applications. The company’s workload primarily consists of a low volume/high product mix. As such, a high number of different projects or products may be in-house at any given time. Receiving, storing, and issuing materials for the building of these many diverse products can consume valuable resources that are needed for more meaningful tasks. The storing and then issuing of materials is a non-value added function. Traditionally, individual piece parts are received via receiving inspection; sent to a stockroom to be stored in bins; and ultimately, put together in a kit for issuance to the assembly floor. FES typically spent eight hours per kit just getting the parts ready for the production floor. This task was in addition to the time required to store the parts in the stockroom and identify their location so that they could be located later. In an effort to reduce the cycle time for processing parts from receiving to the production floor, FES developed the Lean Material Stocking System.
The Lean Material Stocking System was designed to stock parts needed for a job on a specific cart as they are received. A bin is placed on the cart for each part number. As material is received for that job, it is sent directly to the stockroom and placed in the proper bin on the designated job cart. When production is ready to start manufacturing the assembly, the cart is wheeled directly to the production floor where the individual parts are pulled by the assembler. Assemblers use a pick list that tells them exactly what is needed to manufacture the end item. If the build quantity is less than the full job quantity, the excess material is returned to the stockroom on the job cart and held until needed again.
The Lean Material Stocking System can provide parts to the shop floor almost immediately upon receipt, if needed. The system also eliminates kitting time and non-value added labor, which reduces manufacturing cycle times and product costs. This approach has proven ideal for high mix/low production volume environments. As a result, FES has reduced touch labor by 90% and decreased overall cycle time (from parts receipt to release of parts to the production floor) by 40%. The Lean Material Stocking System also enables FES to realize an average savings of six hours per kit.
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