Manufacturing Process Improvement Sample Proposal
Manufacturing Process Efficiency Improvement
We hired Industry Consultants Inc. group of efficiency consultants who have two experts in paper manufacturing processes on their staff to assist in improving our manufacturing process. Based on observations and analysis of our manufacturing process Industry Consultants Inc. recommended that we purchase the Efficient Cardboard Manufacturing ECM software program and that we computerize job scheduling and operation of the cutter. Conclusion Industry Consultants Inc. made the following observations about our manufacturing process at Lakota Cardboard.
On September and Sept two industrial engineers—Lynda Burqhart and Patrick Littlehorse—who specialize in paper product manufacturing walked around the manufacturing floor with stop watches and video cameras and studied our process. These are their observations. The most time consuming part of the process is changing the paper rolls on the corrugator.
Three rolls of kraft paper must be loaded onto the corrugators at the beginning of each job and sometimes new rolls must be loaded when one runs out. At the end of job usually one or more of the paper rolls must be switched out for different weight of paper. For each loading process forklift operator must drive to the storage area retrieve the correct roll of paper transport it back to the corrugators and load it. This process typically takes to minutes.
For each swap process the paper roll must be removed from the corrugator transported back to the storage area and then new roll must be selected transported and loaded. Swap process typically takes to minutes. Because of the extreme weight and size of the paper rolls transporting and loading or removing the paper rolls is dangerous and time consuming job; for safety reasons almost all other work must stop in the area while paper is transported loaded or unloaded.
Because swapping paper rolls happens multiple times during manufacturing shift the process of moving the paper rolls causes lot of down time among the workers on the manufacturing floor.
Using the new ECM software program specifications for all jobs should be entered into the computer as they are received. The ECM program will then batch all jobs that use the same rolls of paper together. This will save significant time and money as fewer paper roll swaps will be needed. Significant amounts of cardboard are wasted in the cutting process.
When box blanks are cut at the cutter excess cardboard that does not fit the job pattern is discarded. Lakota Cardboard is paying for paper and glue and time to create that cardboard; simply throwing it out increases our recycle fees and wastes money and resources. Remarks Recommendations.
The ECM program can batch together jobs that use the same cardboard specifications and create an efficient cutting pattern that will meet the needs of multiple jobs. Using the ECM software should result in less waste of cardboard at the cutting stage. Lakota Cardboard currently uses the following procedure in typical shift at the cardboard manufacturing plant. Each job work order repeats this process.
The shift manager schedules jobs ranking them according to project deadline or size with those jobs that need to be completed first or those that are larger being processed first. Appropriate rolls of kraft paper for the job are moved via forklift from storage and loaded onto the corrugator. The corrugator is set to the fluting specified in the order and the corrugated medium is steamed crimped and glued to the liner papers. The finished cardboard moves down the conveyor belt to the cutting machine.
The cutting machine is manually set for the job and box blanks are cut. The finished box blanks move to the flexo machine area. The box blanks are printed waxed if required and glued. Finished boxes are stacked and moved to the banding machine.
Installing and utilizing the ECM software will cause some consternation among our employees and the process of transitioning to its use must be carefully managed so as not to disrupt our daily operations. Install ECM software accessories and workstations at shift manager’s desks corrugator and cutter. The actual installation of hardware and software and necessary interfaces with our existing machines can happen over the course of weekend and should not disrupt work. Train office personnel shift managers corrugator operators and cutter operators in use of the ECM software.
Many of the Lakota Cardboard employees are computer phobic and will need to be taught how to use the computer interface and ECM software. We recommend several training sessions using computers only before the workstations are installed. Develop sorting process between the cutting area and flexo areas.
Because the new ECM scheduling and batching process may cause multiple jobs to be processed at the cutter there will sometimes be need to separate the box blanks before moving them to the flexo area. The ECM software plan will indicate when multiple jobs are cut together and at the end of the cutting process sorters must be in place to separate and route box blanks according to job. Note that this is an opportunity to utilize personnel whose hours may have been lessened by more efficient computerized scheduling.
Assuming we decide to go ahead with our purchase of the ECM software and computer workstations we should schedule the following meetings. Notification Meeting with All Shift Workers Purpose. To inform all our employees that we are introducing computerization into some aspects of the manufacturing process and that this will impact some jobs. Some of our employees have limited education and are computer phobic; we need to reassure them that they will not be replaced by machines and that they can easily use the ECM system.
One month before the introduction of the system; at the beginning of each shift. Company cafeteria. Meeting Organizer.
Shift manager for each shift. Attendees. All employees for each shift.
Meeting records kept by. Person to be selected by each shift manager. Before these meetings can take place we must have scheduled training and installation.
All employees should receive notification immediately before the system is activated so they will know that new process will be in place at their next shift. Training of Workers Who Will Use the ECM Software Purpose. Introduce the system to our employees. An ECM trainer will run the sessions.
ECM is actually very simple so two sessions ought to suffice. Although workers with different functions will not typically be entering the same data they should be trained together so that they understand how one person’s entry may affect the program. All shift managers all order entry personnel; all corrugator operators; all cutter operators.
Based on our observations and analysis of our manufacturing process Industry Consultants Inc. recommended that we purchase the Efficient Cardboard Manufacturing ECM software program and that we computerize job scheduling and operation of the cutter. This should result in significant reduction of paper roll swapping and in less waste of finished cardboard at the cutting station which should save Lakota Cardboard large amount of money. Purchase the Efficient Cardboard Manufacturing software program.
See the company’s brochure for all of the program’s features and benefits. The software costs $1825.00 to purchase and customer service enrollment is $339 per year. Purchase new computer workstations. We need to install six new computers to run the ECM program.
Two in the main office to enter order specifications as they come in; one at the corrugator one at the cutter and two for the shift managers’ desks. Note that these are normal PCs that can run all sorts of other programs as well although it may not beneficial to load additional programs on corrugator and cutter workstations. By purchasing six at once we can get new computers for $525 each.
Train personnel in usage of the ECM software. All shift managers all order entry personnel; all corrugator operators; all cutter operators must be trained in using the system. All employees should be notified of its introduction and its effects within our process.
Introducing the ECM software into our process should have the following outcomes. Goal #1 Reduce paper roll swapping by more efficiently scheduling jobs using the same paper. Goal #2 Reduce waste of finished cardboard by more using more efficient cut patterns. Goal #3 Allow us to better compete with overseas operations.
You asked me to undertake study of our manufacturing process with the intention of improving it any way we can so we could be more competitive. To this end hired Industry Consultants Inc. group of efficiency consultants who have two experts in paper manufacturing processes on their staff. This packet includes their findings and recommendations and my recommended plan.