Simultaneously improving the mutually exclusive target variables of quality, cost and delivery time is a constant challenge for manufacturing companies. Whether it be due to an excellent order flow to increase production volume for minimum investment, or to achieve sustainable cost reductions in times of stagnating product segments.
This invariably leads to classic conflicts of objective:
- A high quality standard and a short delivery time while simultaneously achieving a good level of efficiency
- A short lead time during a simultaneously high equipment utilisation rate
- Fast-paced production without tolerating lower quality
Metroplan can help you master these challenges thanks to the use of suitable methods aimed at achieving continuous improvement.
Metroplan approach and methodology
We primarily focus our efforts on the three areas of quality improvement, cost reduction and shorter delivery times when approaching the process of continuous improvement.
We analyse key quality problems by using the Pareto method, for example, and are able to focus our joint activities on the problems at hand with the largest amount of leverage. We identify the underlying causes of the most urgent problems for example by using Ishikawa diagrams or fault trees. Immediate measures are subsequently determined and implemented. This ensures that an improvement in quality can quickly be achieved.
Continuous improvement (CIP) is achieved by using methods to identify problems and generate structured solutions. These include:
- systems used to identify problems: During automatic processing, equipment is automatically stopped when faults occur. The fault is visualised using signal lamps (Jidoka). During manual operations such as, for example, component or final assembly every member of staff is given the opportunity to stop production (Andon).
- Methods such as PDCA or 8D are used for problem-solving. By defining shut-off and preventative measures quality can be safeguarded and anchored within a process with the formulation of standards.
Such an approach allows for quality standards to be upheld at the fault point, and not just upon final inspection. Problem-solving is commenced immediately and with maximum capacity.
We analyse cost structures and identify cost drivers. In doing so, we focus our attention on losses incurred in both direct and indirect production areas. By way of shift observations or the use of Spaghetti Diagrams we can identify unnecessary paths, search and tooling times as well as time spent on handling queries regarding erroneous documentation.
The execution of 5S measures helps to visualise a new target status. The quick identification of deviations from the standard is subsequently facilitated, and transparency is created.
We establish a basis for measurement through the use of production-specific KPIs. Thanks to a cascaded KPI system and the use of team dialogues any deviations from the target status along with sources of improvement potential are discovered and shared throughout your organisation. The implementation of improvement measures is guided by a strict breakdown of responsibilities. Such measures establish acceptance among participating members of staff.
Shortening delivery times:
Using a value stream analysis the lead time drivers are identified and sources of potential are revealed with regard to improvement and the avoidance of loss. Measures aimed at reducing the lead time are subsequently derived. We then define the new target status and a plan of action to be implemented as part of a new value stream map, which synchronises production with other areas of the company such as logistics and sales, in adherence to the principles of Lean Production, such as Pull, Time, Flow and Levelling.
Internal logistics are improved by way of a consumption-led supply of the company's production areas. We assess the use of kanban systems, supermarkets and milk runs, and implement these where necessary. This safeguards material supply around the clock, and helps to avoid unnecessary waste as a result of transport or excess production.
We also review production control with the aim of reducing waiting times, and smooth your production workflow with the help of Heijunka Boards. By ensuring an even work distribution across the production system and reducing inventories, a significant reduction in lead time can be achieved.
Customer benefits of continuous improvement
Benefit from the following advantages, among others, when working together with Metroplan
- Holistic analysis including logistics and control
- Data-centric analysis
- Establishing a basis for measurement and transparency
- Measurable and visible improvements in your production
- Systematic approach
Are you interested in the other services we provide? We deliver the establishment of an holistic production system together with your company, in order to ensure continuous improvement throughout. We systematically reveal the problems faced by your business using potential analysis, and exploit sources of potential in order to advance your project.