Lean cell implementation in high mix, low volume manufacturing
Abstract: This thesis was conducted at Enics manufacturing unit in Västerås. This site employs 360 people out of a total of 2400 globally. The site produces electronics and is specialised toward low volumes and spare parts. The site has problems with high inventory levels, long lead times and less than preferred service level towards customers. This is the reason for the project which will investigate if it possible to implement a cell configuration with one piece flow for a part of the production process. The difficulties consist of the high variation in products and process flows which makes planning and grouping of products difficult. To aid this project a Six Sigma methodology called DMAIC (Define- Measure-Analyse-Improve-Control) was used. Tools and principles from Lean manufacturing was also used and discussed. Data from the production has also been collected by the author. As a start a suggested product family was presented by Enics. Process mapping was done for all products by using process maps, spaghetti diagrams and value stream mapping. The initial product family had to be dismissed and a new product family was chosen by analysing process flows and demand for all products. This second product family was then analysed in order to decide if a cell configuration was possible. In the end the project concludes that a cell configuration with one piece flow is feasible and it is partly implemented. A number of layout suggestions are made for future development. A discussion regarding the problems the company are facing follows before the author concludes that the company should continue implementing the fundamental strategies from lean manufacturing despite being a smaller company. Much of the principles are applicable and possible despite the high product variation and lack of resources in the company.
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