We spoke previously on strategies to compete for the attention of conglomerate price leaders such as Walmart. Recently I was speaking with a client who did not have production team meetings in place, yet was confused by the inconsistent output and lack of organization on the production floor.
Developing and executing a business model that will support the high capacity requirements demanded by a company such as Walmart requires an ongoing dedication to optimizing production capabilities. There are several means in which to increase both capacity and utilization without significant investment or an increase in head-count.
Here, then, are my five suggestions to increase production capacity without significant investment:
- Identify opportunities to remove waste from the production process (i.e. wait time created by bottlenecks).
- Map each production process and make improvements to value added activities.
- Review the flow of materials through each process, identify methods to improve material throughput.
- Analyze the shop floor layout and search for means to improve layout to facilitate items #1 through #3 above.
- Implement a Kanban inventory replenishment model to create a “pull” from inventory to avoid production downtime.
In addition, here are five ways to increase team utilization without increasing head-count:
- Use brief production meetings (i.e. 15 minutes) at the start and end of every shift to review performance.
- Develop teams which include representation from production, maintenance, quality, material handling and scheduling.
- Increase cross-training to improve flexibility in operations.
- Empower production teams to identify and implement changes to reduce cycle time.
- Include production awards and team building events to engage members and recognize good performance.
Stay tuned for Part 3, the final part in our trilogy where we will discuss a manner in which low cost, high quality raw materials and components can be sourced cost effectively to support high volume operations.
© Shawn Casemore 2011. All rights reserved.