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ukbasesThe Ask:

UK-based bespoke urban furniture manufacturer – Woodscape, approached Explic8 for guidance and expertise on the implementation of the Material Resource Planning software (MRP) MRPeasy, as their current system was under utilised, resulting in the company remaining heavily reliant on complex spreadsheets requiring manual intervention to conduct their production planning and inventory control.

 

 

Results and Benefits

  • Centralised cloud-based software allowing access to production planning, inventory and procurement management
  • Visibility of manufacturing costs and customer order profits to enable enhanced strategic planning capabilities
  • Multiple complex planning documents made redundant
  • Increase in accuracy of stock control through implementation of shopfloor reporting at the point of usage
  • Visualisation of production planning and Gantt chart of manufacturing operations

Challenges:

  • Over 70% of products were categorised as highly customised versions from a standard product catalogue or bespoke products based on customer specifications
  • Development of production planning data with the creation of bill of materials, routings and standard operating procedures
  • The incorporation of timber inventory control and processing requires satisfying regulatory requirements set by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
  • Business process development required the MRPeasy software to be utilised by 40 employees and multiple business functions

Implications

  • Continued reliance on offline production planning documents would require investment in hardware infrastructure.
  • High levels of manual intervention required to ensure inventory levels were updated and managed.
  • Complex planning documents could not be accessed simultaneously.

Objectives

  • Implement the cloud-based MRP system MRPeasy with shopfloor reporting and capacity capabilities.
  • Develop the methodology to deliver accurate production planning information requirements for products.
  • Increase the information available to Woodscape to allow for analysis of production costs through material and labour, capacity, profitability and inventory usage.

The Approach:

  • 4 month project centred around consulting, analysing and developing processes to match system capabilities.
  • Analysis conducted into company processes to identify opportunities for improvement and to implement control and stability before the implementation of MRPeasy.
  • Mentoring internal problem-solving to develop solutions allowing for the successful implementation of the MRP software.
  • Strengthening interdepartmental relationships to share information and brainstorm solutions to challenges faced.

case studiy electronics company 1The Ask:

A leading manufacturer of electronics for the communications industry that was struggling to achieve customer demand. 4-week delivery promise was failing to attain even 50% OTIF within 7-weeks. Over 700 employees and on a recruitment drive to try and match demand. Despite this performance, sales were spiralling and overtime was “the norm” to try and catch-up

Results and Benefits

  • Initial pilot cell reduced space required from 45k ft2 to 15k ft2 of factory
  • Cell produced 66% of total demand with a team of 25 team members (was 120)
  • 6-weeks of stock around the factory eliminated completely
  • Moved to flexible cell, single-piece flow with Kanban control between equipment
  • Overtime for the pilot product was running at 20% of factory and became zero
  • The 7-week for 50% OTIF delivery became an achieved 1-week delivery @ 100%
  • Lean concepts and cells rolled-out across all areas within a 12-month period
  • Work rebalanced to be achieved with a fixed workforce of 150 (from 700 and rising)
  • Live and accurate order status progress visible at all times within the Visual Factory

Challenges:

  • Massive overdues and everyone chasing their own tails to move products around the factory
  • The layout was functionally organised with large batch production and significant amounts of WIP, totally uncontrolled
  • Priorities changing within each day according to which customer was shouting the loudest (both internal and external customers complaining)
  • No visibility of job status – current batch methods were out of control with WIP piles everywhere, no evidence of batch control or lot control so jobs were being repeated
  • Plan was to invest in more buildings, equipment and people to quell demand

Implication

  • Key accounts were threatening to take their work elsewhere
  • Threat of line stoppages at customers being charged back to supplier
  • Significant hit to the organisation’s bottom line in large scale discounting to appease the customers
  • Company seriously considering asking their “smaller” customers to go elsewhere

Objective

  • Stop the bleeding and the pain
  • Understand if there truly were capacity issues or if the situation was just a symptom of current ways of working
  • Achieve stability, then visibility, then capability
  • Establish a better way of production that will regain control and give the company a breathing space
  • Prove the concept and roll-out across all product lines

The Approach:

Benchmarked current performance against the competition to identify where they were against the rest.

Analysed current processes, methods and flows to identify bottlenecks and opportunities.

Defined and designed a new way of working.

Reviewed product portfolio to select a pilot to demonstrate potential and would have the biggest impact for the business.

Roll-out successes across all areas.

Toolkit

  • Factory redesign
  • Lean tools and techniques from VSM to cellular design
  • Work balancing and competency and skills matching
  • Single piece flow and Kanban concepts
  • Meaningful, accurate and timely KPIs at point of use
  • Visual Factory