Original Date: 07/01/1991
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : D60 Manufacturing Cell
Kurt used a functional machine layout to manufacture the model D60, six-inch machine vise. This original manufacturing technique included moving various vise components 5,000 feet through the factory aisles, requiring 44 fork lift moves. A major part of the work-in-process (WIP) was 800 parts, which constituted the largest vise component. In addition, over 20 days were required to get enough product through the shop to complete any vise. Inventory for one vise part could be 1,000 pieces while there might be only 50 pieces of another. This manufacturing method resulted in completing only the number of vises as the lowest inventory component could support. Thirteen production personnel were required as well as one indirect worker to move parts through the shop.
Kurt Manufacturing recognized the need to establish a cellular manufacturing area for the D60 vise. Management and direct labor personnel were introduced to cellular manufacturing by first establishing a vision of adding value versus adding cost; viewing videotapes on cellular manufacturing; listening to lectures on cellular manufacturing; and touring factories with cellular manufacturing areas. The operators were then included in all aspects of the transition from cell layout to fixing problems. Daily 15-minute meetings included team discussions on how the cell would be operated for that shift. Problems were identified and solutions implemented by the operators. All operators were also cross-trained and conducted their own machine maintenance. The operators also decided who was to run which machine and how to balance the production for a smooth, consistent product flow.
The results of implementing this team approach in the manufacturing cell have been dramatic. Quality problems for D60 vise production are now identifiable through the use of statistical process control. Work orders can be managed to a weekly build schedule for vises rather than multiple orders for the component parts. WIP has decreased from 800 parts to 52, and throughput of completed vises has decreased from 20 days to 4 hours. The travel distance of the parts is now only 180 feet instead of the previous 4,985. The number of forklift moves has been reduced from 44 to 1 and the number of employees from 13 to 8. These impressive results demonstrate the benefits that can be achieved through the use of a team approach and cellular manufacturing.
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