I have been on a 5 month hiatus from blogging. Let me give an update on where my Kanban project currently is. This blog entry is more of an organizational behavior observation than a project update.
The Kanban project has temporarily stalled for a number of reasons. First and foremost, my employer has moved me to a new position which has been consuming a bit of my time. I am now a Senior Test Engineer and not a business unit manager. This move was made as a necessity of what the business currently needed versus my personal preferences. I.e. they needed me to move back into engineering.
The flow racks are on the floor and there are targets set to actually begin training for the team members on the floor.
It’s interesting to see how the economic environment has made the staff managers more in tune to wasteful processes on the shop floor. I still see a lot of preaching as far as what we should be doing. This of course is not being backed up with resources and direction as to allow us to execute any initiative to reach our goals.
One thing that I have accomplished is a 5S initiative for changeover carts for my former area. One of our primary issues in my former area is the lack of organization of raw material and tooling. The problems that are created are not knowing if fixtures are missing, missing components, wrong components, and poor material management.
This activity has greatly increased our visual management of our material flow and every component and fixture has its place on a standardized, color-coded cart. I am pretty proud of it.
Ok, we now have the flow racks in place. We have our Kanbans calculated. We have mapped the flow of the cards through the process.
Next week will be scheduling production to build our inventory stores and get them in place.
The week after that we will begin our training of our team members on the floor. We will do small group training as we begin discussing demand-based scheduling of the Kanban system. We are putting together a series of FAQ questions so we can predict the types of questions that we will receive from our team members and be prepared with a consistent response. This will help provide a unified front and immediately inject some credibility into the system.
We will cover the rules of Kanban so that bad manufacturing practices do not kill our Kanban stores. By the end of the month we hopefully will be turning on the Kanban system.
I have to express my appreciation to Hank. Hank provided me a fundamental Kanban calculator which is simple and straightforward to use. More impressively, this Kanban calculator can be used as a foundation to drive greater tools. Again, Hank, thanks a lot. I am going to try and post a sample image of the calculator.
I had a meeting today to go over with my Kanban team regarding some of my findings from my change over study. What we have learned from my study is that we really need to Kaizen our changeover process in conjunction with implementing Kanban. We have automated insertion lines for PCBA assemblies. With our current process we have change over times in excess of 90 minutes.
I am scheduling a Kaizen blitz of our changeover process. We will need to put a cost justification together to allow for some capital purchases to reduce our changeover times to the 5 to 10 minute range. This will allow for use to get our store sizes down.
I have ran accross this Kanban calculator. Its located at www.optimumperform.com. So far its pretty slick, but its 1200 dollars per seat, which I think is pretty salty. I'll see what other tools are available and will post them here.
I am currently looking to establish my method of identifying PCB magazine racks with a Kanban type, color coded visual managment flag. This will allow for us in my organization to identify how much and what kind of WIP we have currently available. Also, I have begun working on a Plan For Every Part for my bottleneck process and I will branch out from there as I begin analyzing my Kanban requirements and DOH inventory targets.
Today's update is that we are now calculating our Kanban sizes. I am getting quotes from Creform and American Pro-pipe for gravity feed racks.
This initiative is really picking up steam in our department. Tomorrow I have a review of our current calculations and i'll present the quotes to managment regarding what we are going to have to invest.