Achievements and Results

- Lead time reduced from 8.3 days to 3 days

- Revamped assembly line allows for flexible production rates

- 40% reduction in manpower


The Problem

A tier one client in the automotive industry requested assistance in optimizing the fabrication and assembly of exhaust components. The current process was plagued with declining volumes, poor part flow, and excess direct labor.


The Solution

Using Value Stream Mapping and Line Balancing techniques, the process elements were analyzed and broken down. A takt time was established for the output of the cell based on current and forecast sales data. 

A kaizen team was formed with the Operators, Engineering, and Management in order to analyze the data. Training classes were initiated to educate the participants on the kaizen process.

Analysis by the kaizen team resulted in several changes to the process.

First, the line was originally set up to run 500 pieces per day, in three separate batch areas. A new process was set up to meet the customer demand of 300 pieces per day; this was achieved using a flexible U-shaped continuous flow cell. 


Benefits Realized

The new U-shaped continuous flow cell had several important benefits to the company. First, it led to a 40% reduction in manpower. Second, rearranging the manufacturing floor space led to savings of 1,400 sq. ft.. Manufacturing lead time saw a reduction from 8.3 days to 3 days. A continuous flow assembly line allowing flexible staffing of the line to meet multiple production rates with minimal effect on the labor required per unit.

Overall, the final results were an assembly line able to achieve a 75% increase in productivity, a new setup allowing for flexible run rates, and ultimately, a satisfied customer.


To see the resume of the expert associated with this case study, see the link below.

Resume of ONY Manufacturing Process Improvement, Expert Consultant Resume


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Peter Habicht, Lead Consultant
Peter specializes in welding and metallurgical engineer with 40 years industry experience in commercial nuclear power plant construction.


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