Learn how NATEL’s OVO Facility Solved Their Need for Increased Throughput
CHATSWORTH, CA – February 27, 2014 – NATEL EMS announces the release of its new whitepaper titled The Lean Journey at NATEL EMS Ohio Valley Operations 2014, about the implementation of lean manufacturing concepts at its Ohio Valley Operations facility in 2014. The whitepaper focuses on overcoming obstacles during the process of introducing lean manufacturing into an ultra-high mix, low volume printed circuit board assembly area.
The paper describes how NATEL EMS needed to find a new approach for one of its medical customer’s printed circuit board assembly cell in order to increase production from 75 to 200 finished pieces per day, with future projections ranging from 250 to 400 finished pieces per day. The challenge was to achieve this increase with the same equipment and within the same amount of time.
There are three key elements that contribute to continuous improvement: people, layout and process. To begin the improvements, OVO, guided by Victor Yamauchi, first trained its 147 employees in the Toyota Production System. Next, it adapted the layout of the cell to support continuous flow by implementing the 5S of the workplace: Sort, Straighten, Sweep, Standardize and Sustain.
Lastly, the process was adapted. This involved replacing of the batch mentality by arranging the process around a sequential continuous flow, as well as standardizing work in progress and pull manufacturing to eliminate overproduction. These process adaptations also allowed for immediate feedback, thereby facilitating quality control and, when necessary, quick correction in the event a defect is detected.
The most important conclusion is that the OVO workforce has become knowledgeable about continuous improvement and lean manufacturing. To quote one operator, “My job isn’t to assemble a product; my job is to find the most efficient way possible to assemble a product.”
As a result of the implementation of lean manufacturing concepts, the medical customer’s cell at the OVO facility now produces 200 finished products a day and continues to look for improvements that will amp up productivity even further. Considering the success of the lean manufacturing implementation, NATEL’s next goal is to apply these concepts to the remainder of the shop floor.
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