Concurrent Manufacturing Announces Lean Manufacturing Innovations
Concurrent Manufacturing Solutions Continues Role as a Leading Proponent of Lean Manufacturing Processes
Lean Management and Six Sigma are the drivers of quality and cost improvements in manufacturing today and Concurrent Manufacturing Solutions is no exception. Their facility in Ozark, Missouri long ago adapted the work cells approach and organized their manufacturing and assembly processes to maximize quality. The plant underwent a transformation and has continued to serve as a model for the company ever since.
Recently these Lean Manufacturing Processes have been shared company-wide and now other facilities are reaping the benefits of increased efficiency. Most notably, their Matamoros Mexico facility has benefited from a number of Lean improvements implemented by the team and by the company’s 6 Sigma Master Black Belt. Concurrent currently has four 6 Sigma Certified Green Belts, one Black Belt and a Master Black Belt to continue driving Lean Manufacturing innovations across all facilities.
Ian Turnbull, Concurrent’s Lean Management Champion, recently shared some of the innovations that are being developed. “At Concurrent Manufacturing Solutions, the Quality Management System is the foundation of quality and comprised of the activities required to implement quality management.”, he says. “These activities include organizing procedures, processes and resources necessary to monitor, measure, and control the actions, enabling us to improve performance. Inputs to QMS are critical for the early detection of problems and to ensure continuous improvement, for that is the only path to ongoing sustainability. This is the way costs are reduced and customer satisfaction guaranteed.”, says Turnbull.
The painting process at their Matamoros facility is currently an important area of focus for the company, which expects to achieve a significant reduction in defects, rework and scrap from Lean Manufacturing/Six Sigma efforts. “This not only reduces waste but adds significant value to the end product and added value for our shareholders.”, says Turnbull.
The strategic process at Concurrent Manufacturing Solutions includes many familiar Lean tools. Key performance indicators were defined in order to collect the right data about the processes. Error-proofing (Poka-Yoke) is used; Failure Mode Effect Analysis is used to help determine risk, to delineate the effects of potential failure and to generate solutions. Root cause analysis is performed to get to the heart of the matter. The ‘Five Why’s’ problem solving and cause and effect analysis are additional tools used.
Additionally, a key element in Concurrent’s Lean Management program is the Visual Factory/Management approach, which uses visual aids to point out the steps of the process and communicate process data so that they can be monitored at every point. Quick Changeover methods enable reduction of set up time by having all tools and materials available and ready for use. The Press-fit presses, for example, are programmed to search for tools thus allowing the operator to load tools wherever necessary and shorten set up time; the SMT Line maintains preloaded magazines with components for high running assemblies with high component counts (requiring long set-up times).
One of the foundations of Lean Six Sigma requires that the workforce be cross-trained in multiple skills, increasing workforce flexibility and shortening downtime that hinders the process. The added benefit of this practice is that the workforce becomes more fully engaged because they appreciate learning new skills.
Utilizing readily available data and performing analysis has enabled Concurrent Manufacturing Solutions to make changes in existing processes by identifying areas for improvement and taking needed action to remedy. When examining the process scientifically, the apparent flaws in the process are apparent and allow the team to not only fix the instant case, but put into place a process that will be sustainable over time and for many customers.