The welding processes area of a large fabrication facility failed to keep up with production demands because of poor processes and materials flow. These constraints seriously affected the output of the facility and, more importantly, they were affecting final assembly at the customer level.
Flow assigned a production manager of the welding processes area and he began a two-pronged approach to solve key issues. His initial approach was to roll-out key lean principles such as one-piece-flow, proper line balancing, poka yoke (a Japanese term translated “mistake-proofing”), and proper material presentation. The second part of Flow’s strategy was to instill explicit schedule discipline in the shop.
The welding processes area is now running $300,000 under standard cost per month. The shop output doubled within six months and quality defects were reduced by more than 50 percent — without increasing headcount.