One of the biggest tasks that we at the upKaizen face on a frequent basis is the need to synchronize production with supply chain performance. After all, there is no point to have a totally efficient and fully automated supply chain with a dysfunctional production line or a dysfunctional supply chain with a fully automated production line.
As such, before a fully optimized system can be realized, it is imperative to perform a gap analysis, and review both the physical aspects of the system as well as the digital data flow.
Among the man configurations that we provide is a full range of both pull and push inventory planning models. We also view locations based on CODP and factor in both EOQ and EPQ models. These are all implemented together with the use of classic MPS and MRP/ERP planning programs. However, the use of software does not reduce the number of hands-on common sense that we use before we delve into the statistics and data analysis.
The approach we take for all tasks is based on proven productivity models for system improvement, and these are based on the lean manufacturing principles combined with statistical analysis and backed by any number of models and methods used to improve the physical aspects of planning to the processing system.
Some of the models we have used include Heijunka. This is production smoothing, which is perfect for reducing time batches for repetitive production processes and assembly lines, another aspect is setting capacity buffers rather than WIP, JIT is best reached with an economically rated capacity buffer that is unique to each products supply risk factor. This works best when supported by a comprehensive Kanban system.
Kanbans are a perfect visual tool for supplementing digital control, and when combined, a Kanban and MRP system provides excellent real-time review and control over stock flow within an entire WIP system.
Other methods include six sigma to reduce set up times, speeding up smoother tooling preparation procedures, together with SMED, reduces not only change over time but the time it takes to actuate a physical changeover.
upKaizen also uses lot size reduction, elimination of time batching and rank order clustering models. Other models that are considered for optimizing a system include both single-point and multi-point scheduling as well as implementing a strict 5S approach at all times.
Finally, one overlooked but intrinsic and constant approach is the classic Poka Yoka, which means, open your eyes and look around to see if something is wrong and then create a method to avoid it. Essentially, this is a system by where error making is reduced through creating environments that counter the possibility of an error.
There is no one best or universal method for optimizing processes in any industry. Every company is unique, and its services and methods are different. The upKaizen way is to take each individual case and analyses it, building up a blueprint of what the system currently is. From this blueprint, we can work together with our clients to define what they want, to where they want to be, and this defines the gap.
Once we have the gap, we know how to create the right conditions to not only close the gap but to deliver results that go beyond our client’s expectations.