Process Improvement Prevents Manufacturing Problems From Shutting You Down
You might not think of security as a problem solving industry, but all of us here at Conzer Security do. In fact, it is our reputation for solving problems that is the impetus for many of the free security consultations we do.
Not only do we want to protect your assets, but we want to improve profitability, too. Let me share one example of how we do that:
One of our manufacturing clients was continually having a problem receiving flawed raw materials. The flaws were being noticed in one of three places in the production process.
- When the material was placed onto the line, an alert employee sometimes noticed a flaw when he did a visual inspection. At that time the materials would be removed, but that meant a stoppage, holding up the entire line while more inspections were done and new material could get back into production.
- When the product was finished and being inspected by the quality control personnel. The quality control person might also find the flaw in a visual inspection. This resulted in an increased number of wasted products and possibly, depending on the number of flawed products, delay delivery.
- When quality control tests were being completed. Products would fail in the testing process. Again, this meant that more products had to be tested and wasted. Not only could delivery be delayed, but now cash flow was also affected with payments made and refunds pending.
In all this process came the cost of receiving flawed material, paying for it, returning it to the vendor and having to re-order it. It was increasing production costs and also production time. Neither of which contribute to meeting delivery commitments in a lean environment.
The firm asked if we could help with the problem.
Our goal was not to just increase identification of the flawed material, but to help prevent the material from getting into the system and creating problems all through production. We came in to assess the entire process from the material being unloaded at the dock to the final product getting ready to be shipped.
We wanted to identify the first and best place to determine whether or not the raw material coming in was flawed and how to handle it at that point.
We were able to create a reader that could ascertain at the loading dock if the material was flawed. If it was, it was returned immediately and never got onto the production floor. The shipment would be refused and therefore never make it into the accounting and billing system. Money would no longer be held up awaiting refunds.
The production line was immediately notified electronically that the material was refused so they could plan for changes in production. That made decisions faster and easier and prevented shut downs.
Time was saved, cash flow improved, and eventually the vendor implemented new processes to prevent the flaw in their production process.