Original Date: 11/13/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Continuous Flow Manufacturing
JLG applied a continuous flow manufacturing (CFM) approach to achieve a continuous, balanced, and flexible flow of material/components/subassemblies to balance its work cells and final assembly lines, significantly reducing its manufacturing lead time.
By 1991, the company had grown and developed into a world leader in aerial work platform production. However, manufacturing costs were rising, there was poor efficiency and material flow, and lead times on customer orders was extensive. Cross-functional teams were organized to analyze the flow and manufacturing processes on final assembly lines. Lift assembly lines were consolidated into three lines by product family, and work cells were developed to feed these assembly lines.
In 1992, the focus was redirected to analyze up-stream operations. A steering team, organized to develop goals and objectives, established policies and procedures to ensure all personnel were working in the same direction. Company-wide teams were developed to plan and implement physical layout changes. All CFM problems were resolved when highlighted by teams. A facilitator was assigned the role of being the champion for CFM and its integration in the manufacturing process. Pilot areas were developed to prove out changes, and the changes were integrated throughout manufacturing. Pull and Kanban systems were implemented, supplier partnerships were developed, and rate-based scheduling was introduced.
CFM supported reduction of the manufacturing lead time from 76.1 days in 1991 to 31.6 days in 1995; 23.6 days in 1996; 16.4 days in 1997; 11.0 days in 1998; and have achieved their overall goal of ten days. JLG improved its worldwide market share of the boom lift (61%) and the sizzor lift (118%) (Figure 2-2) during the time these changes were implemented.
Figure 2-2. Improvement in Worldwide Market Share (1991-1995)
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