Improving Materials Supply Processes to Assembly Lines Through Toyota Production System and Lean Manufacturing

University essay from Lunds universitet/Teknisk logistik; Lunds universitet/Institutionen för teknisk ekonomi och logistik

Abstract: Purpose – TePe Munhygienprodukter AB (TePe) is moving the production facility designated their toothbrushes as part of their expansion phase. Not only do they face challenges due to a two-floor production, but also do they face efficiency and safety challenges in their materials flow. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to construct recommendations on improving TePe’s materials supply processes to assembly lines through Toyota production system (TPS) and Lean manufacturing (Lean). Design/methodology/approach – A constructive research approach is conducted to develop problem-solving constructs for TePe in regards to abovementioned challenges. In addition, a dual case study is conducted to find gaps between TePe’s actual and potential performance. A comprehensive theoretical framework of TPS/Lean bridges case-specific practice and theory. Findings – This research has found seven constructs for TePe to mitigate many of the challenges they face, and improve their overall flow efficiency through TPS/Lean, namely: setup time and batch size reductions, layout changes, and an implementation of a supermarket, a Kanban system, a 5S initiative and managerial principles (i.e. Genchi genbutsu, Visual management, Kaizen, 5 Whys and a re-evaluation of strategies). The company can save 0.74 MSEK yearly in inventory holding costs through a setup time and batch size reduction with 57 and 50 per cent, respectively. The constructs provide a clean, structured replenishment system, eliminating the problematic safety hazards altogether. There is also a chain of indirect benefits from all seven constructs. Therefore, management is vital for building and fostering a new culture of continuous improvements and employee engagement. Originality/value – This paper contributes to both academia and practice by applying the constructive research approach on materials flow, tailored for a manufacturing firm. Moreover, an explicit comparison of Lean maturity models is conducted, by this paper’s author not found elsewhere, and a new TPS/Lean maturity model is introduced.

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