Increasing Overhaul Capacity
As part of its passenger train business, this major organisation provides an overhaul service to a variety of clients.
With demand outstripping ability to supply by more than four to one, on profitable work, there was a clear business benefit to improving capacity. Our team were engaged in a broader programme of work with this client, and this challenge created a useful training ground for client personnel in the lean principles around process mapping, component supply, 5S and layout redesign.
Increase in throughput of unit overhaul from 1-2 units per month to 8
reduction in hours spent on each unit
Improvements resulting in an annual $2m EBIT increase
Improvement culture established & standard processes embedded
Initial reviews of the shopfloor identified some key drivers of the poor throughput rate including:
- Lack of clarity on the work scope required by the customer
- Poor understanding of the daily tasks
- Frequent material shortages disrupting the workflow
It was clear that these distractions were combining with poor decision-making, leading to low productivity and high levels of rework.
To commence the work, our team completed a process analysis and captured this in work sequence boards. These were supplemented by team information boards to provide clarity on the shop floor of the status of any individual overhaul.
Critical to creating flow was the establishment of component kanbans. This established work stations & bench top stocks of all minor componentry eliminating wasted trips to stores and ensuring that work was not held up by components. The kanban approach facilitated a simple re-ordering process.
We worked with the teams to simplify the layout, focusing initially on a 5S program to simplify the working area. This then led to the creation of an improved workshop layout, with less movement and improved working conditions for each operation.
The implementation of standard operating procedures led to a repeatable process, fostering consistent quality within the budgeted hour's target. This created the foundation for continuous improvement.