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Introducing a Balance Line - Identifying potential future pitfalls etc.

8

8ball

#1
hi all,

Looking for some guidance, help, identifying potential future pitfalls etc.

i think the first thing to say is what we have achieved so far. i along with 2 other collegues were given the task of making a non profitable assembly cell efficient, productive and profitable.

Currently 42 hours of attended labour goes into manufacturing and assembling (lets call them 'shanks' as im not sure if my company would like me publishing this material) shanks :). Within this 42 hours are a large amount of waste and other issues. Our target is 22. They work in cells and the people move around the cell like bees round honey.

So first of all we went on the shop floor and conducted 'Production Time Studies' to understand currently 'where we are' and identify any potential issues that could be improved. It became apparent early on that a production line would be best suited to this time of product.

Takt Time as been calculated at 2.20 hours. We have set a 2hour takt and using the .2 of an hour to move the product on from one op to another. (The 'Shanks' are a very large product)

We have put in numerous improvements to reduce the times per operation to somewhere near the takt.

i feel we are a week away from priming the line and watch what happens and balance the line where appropriate, along with further improvements if required.

From this point on what potential issues am i likely to face, is there a structured way to introduce the line balancing ie start with a larger takt to begin with etc.

ANy more info just ask
 
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A

AdamP

#2
Re: Introducing a balance line

We have put in numerous improvements to reduce the times per operation to somewhere near the takt.

i feel we are a week away from priming the line and watch what happens and balance the line where appropriate, along with further improvements if required.

From this point on what potential issues am i likely to face, is there a structured way to introduce the line balancing ie start with a larger takt to begin with etc.
Hello 8Ball!

I can relate to your challenge and hopefully can help a bit.

First, I think you're taking to right approach by introducing things and being open to 'editing' as is needed along the way.

Since 'takt time' is the available time divided by the customer demand (usually available daily time divided by average daily demand or a similar calc.) to get you to your 2.2 hours per piece. Assuming your customer demand remains the same, unless you add more available time (another shift?), your takt time will remain the same. So your opportunity is in reducing the cycle time of each activity to meet the takt so demand is met and the operation can flow smoothly.

It sounds like you and your team have already reduced some of the waste which is great. Have you broken the process down into a sequence, or better yet, a map? Or have you assessed each step or activity as 'value add' or 'non-value add' to identify those activities to get rid of before you redistribute work in an attempt to balance the work? Going through those steps should help with further cycle time reduction.

Another quick place to look for help is with your material usage. Are you making changes to have consumables or other materials at 'point of use' to reduce the time for having to go get it?

A last little bit - on your question of what to expect once you introduce the (roughly)balanced line: You can leverage the people working in the line/cell to identify improvements or 'kaizens' and by having them make the improvements, you might ge them interested in making more improvements to make the cycle times even better - so do this with them, not to them. :)

Cheers,

Adam
 
8

8ball

#3
Re: Introducing a balance line

Hello 8Ball!

I can relate to your challenge and hopefully can help a bit.

First, I think you're taking to right approach by introducing things and being open to 'editing' as is needed along the way.

Since 'takt time' is the available time divided by the customer demand (usually available daily time divided by average daily demand or a similar calc.) to get you to your 2.2 hours per piece. Assuming your customer demand remains the same, unless you add more available time (another shift?), your takt time will remain the same. So your opportunity is in reducing the cycle time of each activity to meet the takt so demand is met and the operation can flow smoothly.

It sounds like you and your team have already reduced some of the waste which is great. Have you broken the process down into a sequence, or better yet, a map? Or have you assessed each step or activity as 'value add' or 'non-value add' to identify those activities to get rid of before you redistribute work in an attempt to balance the work? Going through those steps should help with further cycle time reduction.

Another quick place to look for help is with your material usage. Are you making changes to have consumables or other materials at 'point of use' to reduce the time for having to go get it?

A last little bit - on your question of what to expect once you introduce the (roughly)balanced line: You can leverage the people working in the line/cell to identify improvements or 'kaizens' and by having them make the improvements, you might ge them interested in making more improvements to make the cycle times even better - so do this with them, not to them. :)

Cheers,

Adam


Thanks for the reply Adam.

In answer to your questions or statements above we ve done everything that youve stated.

Cycle times are now achievable exept one but we have spare capacity in other operations to help out.

The biggest issue, infact massive, is people.

We ve had to take people off nights in order to man the line correctly and start implementing this slowly. The thing we ve obviously hit people in the pocket and to be fully truthful they dont understand why we're doing it. They are working slow and have shown instances of ill discipline. It seems they literally ditest us. We ve had no confrontations or anything like that, some just want their night shift back.

This is something that me and the team i work with need to understand and make sure doesnt happen again. When we initially did the time studies and understood that it would be benefical to introduce line balancing and working to takt, we should of trained them in 6s and line balancing and complete a factory simulation of batch processing vs single piece flow. I knew from this is what should of been done but wasnt backed due to production requirements. Would this of got rid of the people issues that we currently have? most probably not but at least they would understand why we are doing it.

so the next step for us is to implement this and see what happens.

Personally i can see half of the cell team either leaving or being relocated and to be honest i believe this would have to happen in order for the line to be a success.

8 :D

anymore advice will be much appreciated.
 
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