Lean Manufacturing has its roots in the Japanese giant Toyota. Today, the world’s largest companies such as Nike, Bosch, Nissan, Ford and Caterpillar Inc. place great emphasis on maximising efficiency and minimising waste. However, what exactly does Lean Manufacturing mean? And what measures in line with the Lean strategy have been taken in our company?
Lean Manufacturing is about the ‘lean’ management of production. Its aim is to continuously improve processes and strive for the efficient use of key resources. They include employees, machinery and materials. In our case, it came down to observing our work in production in order to be able to propose certain improvements. We focused on combining quality with speed of service and motivating and training our employees. We set ourselves specific goals and divided the activities into a dozen projects. One of these concerned the reduction of SMT line changeover time.
SMT LINE CHANGEOVER
As early as in October 2021, we started a series of meetings led by Lean Manufacturing consultant. A total of three projects were launched in the production area, one of which was the project related to the SMT line. At the beginning, our team was introduced to the tools and philosophy of Lean Manufacturing and a step-by-step procedure for achieving the goal.
Stage 1 – Input data analysis
When joining the project, we already had knowledge of the SMT line changeover time so far. The average for the last 3 months was 37 minutes. What was our goal? We wanted to get down to 19 minutes and to keep this result stable. We had to reach our maximum potential, because the latest measurements indicated that the average line changeover time rose to as much as 43 minutes.
Stage 2 – Changeover analysis and creation of standards
In order to investigate the changeover efficiency, we decided to record two videos of the changeover process The ECRS analysis and the breakdown into external and internal operations made it possible to identify the shortcomings of the current changeover process and to plan improvements. At this stage, everyone understood that it is not about working fast and hard, but about working smart. This was also the moment when our consultant presented us with further valuable tools. These were two documents: The Operational Standard and the One-Point Lesson. The following weeks of strenuous work saw our small successes (decreasing average line changeover time) and setting us straight when the rate increased again.
New standards were constantly created and operator training took place. In addition, the company invested in screen printing frames or for example an offline fitting booth at the lines. All these efforts saw the achievement of a new average SMT line changeover time – 15.4 minutes. The hard work and persistence of the entire team yielded the expected results.
Stage 3 – Tracking and eliminating Anomalies
We then monitored the entire process and, in the end, analysis of anomalies proved unnecessary, as they simply did not occur. The whole process was a huge success and allowed us to become great at such projects.
Some of the changes that have occurred across the entire process:
THE PROJECT IN FIGURES