In the last few years, amplifying demand in the consumer durable market has intensified the competition.
Most players have introduced multiple models, but large product variety has led to increased complexity of operations. A leading manufacturer in North India chose to address these complexities by adding more assembly lines and having process oriented work stations for common operations.
As a result, the company had four underutilized assembly lines and a hybrid between Product & Process layout of facilities. The production shop became highly congested, leaving hardly any space for storing work-in-process. Restricted and criss-cross movement of materials and men lowered labor productivity & caused delays in delivery. To address the operational problems, the company sought help from Actuate Business Consulting.
Consultants from Actuate Business Consulting analyzed the operations and manufacturing processes. With primary focus on decongesting the production shop, while meeting projected production requirements of various models, they worked out a solution that brought a ‘paradigm shift in manufacturing’.
Four dedicated assembly lines, one each for a group of few models, were dismantled.
Instead, Two flexible multi-model assembly lines were created. Some fixtures and few extra machines were added in the assembly line. Few components were redesigned to make them common for various models and some non critical operations were outsourced.
By including all operations in the assembly lines, process based layout was completely eliminated.
Freeing up of space in the shop floor helped smooth flow of parts through multiple stage operations which resulted in lower work in process with reduced materials handling because of unidirectional fixed path movement of parts.
With the proposed changes accepted & implemented, plant productivity increased by more than 25%, with greater flexibility to handle larger product variety and potential to increase the output.