The client had implemented cellular manufacturing throughout their entire product range and needed components fed into each cell at the correct rate with minimal (or ideally no) goods inward handling. Their cable assembly requirement comprised of 500 parts including variations in length, colour wire type and terminal style – no easy feat!

Any breakdown in supply would cause the entire cell to be on stop. This, of course, was not an option.

Forensic data analysis and vigorous testing was absolutely key here. We needed to find out the quantities of each parts that were needed, how often they would be needed, whether or not any variants could be combined to reduce numbers, how the parts get used in the cell, what’s the ideal bundling mix…We could go on and on!

The research was carried out in extremely close collaboration with their operations management, purchasing and quality assurance team. A Kan Ban system was developed utilising barcoded cards and an ‘as used’ invoicing arrangement.

The arrangement covers 80% of the total requirement with the balance being on a normal ‘by request’ basis.

Requests for the Kan Bans are received 3 times weekly. A request to deliver any particular variant automatically triggers a demand on our production unit to produce a further batch ready for the next call off.

As well as enabling their cells to function efficiently, the system has cut out many hidden costs such as less paperwork, no individual orders and much less day-to-day expediting communication and emergency requests.

This implementation of cellular manufacturing has been a huge success for the client and they are now regarded as an exemplar site within their Group.