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The Lean way to a smooth workflow

July 10, 2015

The Atlas Copco Road Construction Equipment production plant in Karlskrona has changed radically during the last year, mainly due to the implementation of the LEAN concept.

Wim Moors, General Manager, Dynapac Compaction Equipment AB, Karlskrona.

“For us, the lean journey was not only about the most known aspects of LEAN, like cutting waste, creating transparency and continuous improvement,” says Wim Moors, General Manager, Dynapac Compaction Equipment AB, Karlskrona. “We also used the LEAN concept as a change management tool, implementing produce-to-order, reduced delivery times in the full supply chain and ‘Takt Time’ at the factory.”

The LEAN concept is used to create a smooth workflow at Karlskrona, following certain steps:

GOODS RECEIVING

Component suppliers receive electronic purchase orders, most of which are generated by the Kanban system. This pull system limits the amount of stock or work in progress by only issuing a request for production or delivery when a part is consumed. Standardization of packing and labeling is important for the flow. By scanning the barcodes on the packing, goods are loaded into the enterprise resource planning system and can be transferred to the picking location.

SUPERMARKET

Components are picked in the supermarket according to picking lists and are placed on carriers. Picking lists are released according to a schedule to ensure that the right carrier with components is at the right assembly station on the assembly line at the right time. An internal ‘milk-run’ delivers the carriers to the assembly line and brings back the empty ones. The flow is based on a just-in-time principle.

LEAN MANUFACTURING

The work on the newly built production lines is based on four cornerstones: Flow, Takt, Pull and Zero Defects.

Flow - By creating a unidirectional flow, the number of operations is minimized and so is work in progress, creating an optimal and efficient production flow.

Takt - All operations from incoming goods to delivery are balanced within the same Takt to avoid overproduction and waste of resources.

Pull - Production is done upon order now. Lead times are two weeks for up to four ton machines and four weeks for up to 21 ton machines. Most orders are made in Kanban; components and pre-assemblies are coming just-in-time, without an intermediate buffer.

Zero defects - When visualizing, attacking and eliminating root causes, the highest quality is ensured. The foolproof Poka-Yoke* system is used for components.

“The flow-and-quality concept is based on make-to-order, meaning that every machine built is linked to a customer order. This keeps stock limited. We have been working hard to keep delivery times as short as possible,” says Wim Moors.

Facts about LEAN at Karlskrona

Storage space saved: 43%
Efficiency gained: up to 15%
Stock reduction: 55%
Smaller travel distance for a roller in production: 75%

* Poka-Yoke is a method that helps preventing mistakes, or error-proofing. Typical examples are designing a part that cannot be installed in the wrong way or plates that contain specifically designed holes to fit the parts that need to be assembled. Any parts remaining on the plate after assembly indicate a possible error.

Operational excellence Productivity Sweden Europe LEAN Manufacturing