Factory relocation with lean manufacturing implementation

By admin
In March 1, 2014
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Factory relocation with lean manufacturing implementation

The challenge

A Moulding manufacturer specialised in plastic products had three different manufacturing processes in different locations:

  • A complex foam injection process, produced in manufacturing cells and requiring fume extraction
  • Three plastic extrusion lines
  • A labour intensive hand moulding process for small volume requirements.

The company sought higher growth and a reduced cost base. They decided to relocate with a calculated payback over 18 months. In order to minimise disruption it was decided that external project management would be used to manage negotiations with the contractors, deal with dilapidations and the landlords, schedule and manage the relocation work and assist the Owner in sourcing manufacturing machinery specialists to optimise output. Essentially, the Owner wished his senior management to maintain focus on the business throughout the process.

Solution

He selected Illumina Business Consulting with the assistance of our specialists in relocating their businesses. A detailed study of current manufacturing requirements was undertaken. Particular attention was paid to the three processes and the layout of facilities needed to service these. The Factory needed to be optimised and a key aim was to re-engineer production processes allowing faster throughout.

Health and safety issues had to be reviewed and extraction solutions were delivered using specialist advice. Suitable choices of contractors were researched and negotiations were conducted to permit best practice terms. Drawings were completed, reviewed by the Management Team and the project was approved.

Implementation

A comprehensive list of all actions was made to ensure that no items were missed or forgotten. A schedule of work was also developed as each subcontractor submitted their build or service plans. Negotiations on costs and cashflow terms were conducted, keeping the client at arms-length where possible.

All three processes were relocated into one new location and were laid out for lean manufacture. A mezzanine area was installed, as was pallet racking for storage of raw material and finished goods. All required services (compressed air, cooling water, fume extraction etc) were specified and installed. Production volumes were increased prior to the moves and the relocation of the production areas was staggered to minimise disruption to customers. This project also included the control of the dilapidations work on the old buildings.

The client management team were able to focus on virtually eliminating disruption to customer demand while project management dealt with all external resources and negotiations, presenting informed and cost effective choices. The works programme was managed efficiently reducing delays, controlling costs and delivering competitive choices to the client.

Achievements

On the successful completion of the relocation the Managing Director commented:

‘The structured approach using checklists was of great assistance during the planning stage. It highlighted the critical areas to be considered and ensured that nothing vital was forgotten or left until the last minute.

Your involvement with the project management was a valuable extra resource which allowed the management team to focus on running the business rather than getting distracted with the move. Your contacts and associates were very helpful in providing the various specialised services that were needed during the relocation.’