INDUSTRY

We support some of the world’s largest organisations across a variety of sectors. By focussing on people and process, we adapt our Lean improvement methodology to any business or industry across the world to deliver continuous benefit and value.

CASE STUDY

RAIL MAINTENANCE & RENOVATION SERVICES BUSINESS STRATEGY

Our client has 4 sites in the UK and were struggling to achieve financial and growth performance targets.

A global provider of maintenance and renovation services to the rail industry with 4 sites in the UK were struggling to achieve financial and growth performance targets set by Group. The UK MD and Board required support to analyse the business and market position, and to then create a business strategy that would put the UK organisation back on-track financially.

Initial analysis of the business showed that some of the cost burden was largely driven by the substantial cost in manufacture and logistics involved in bogie repair and overhaul. This activity was carried out at 3 of the UK sites, to varying degrees, and was seen to be an area that could be improved and ran as a separate, profitable service to the rail industry based on an analysis of the industry and market potential. A business case and supporting strategy was created to be deployed over the coming months.

RESULTS

Floor space utilisation reduced by 60%


Increase in throughput in excess of 17% measured over 6 months


Delivery on-time to customer performance 97.8% with zero penalties incurred


No accidents or near misses reported in first 6 months 


Reduction of man/hours per bogie averaged 23% over first 6 months 


Right first time quality up to 95% after 6 months measured at final inspection 


ROI x2 in first 6 months. Budgeted profit targets exceeded 


6% increase in order book in first 12 months

INITIAL OBSERVATION

One of the company site’s had the main concentration of bogie engineering knowledge and manufacturing set-up. However, in order to make the business viable a number of observations were made and actions required.


- Current layout of the bogie area was poor and did not flow causing lots of unnecessary handling/movement that contributed to delays in throughput. High level of accidents in the workplace 
- Equipment availability was less than 55% due to poor production scheduling and lack of focussed maintenance. Additional machines and excessive overtime had been put in place to compensate 
- Knowledge was held in people’s heads and was a huge risk to the business
- Actual versus planned man hours per bogie was not hitting budgeted targets 
- High level of WIP and component inventory with little visual control
- Large amounts of rework and no visual controls
- No clear order of production priority with in-progress work lots waiting action 
- Large amounts of rework and no visual controls 
- No clear order of production priority with in-progress work lots waiting action
- No standard operations or approach to strip, inspect and rebuild 
- Process bottleneck (crack detection) not being managed effectively

OBJECTIVES

- Reduce number of hours by an average of 30% to achieve profit targets
- Increase equipment availability to above 80% and utilise additional capacity to take on more work 
- Design standard work and work packages to improve quality and production planning 
- Improve flow and layout of bogie shop to improve throughput and reduce handling. Move towards a single piece flow
- Improve MRP process to reduce inventory holding. Some parts to be put on JIT schedule
- Plan business around constraint to maximise output

IMPROVEMENT STRATEGY

- End to end process mapped and areas of waste identified
- Flow of parts mapped from receipt to dispatch 
- Redesign and layout manufacturing area in U-shaped cell to optimise floor space and flow 
- Introduce standard working and work packages/kits with visual management to control
- Kanban triggers introduced to supply parts to work stations
- Pre-kitting of work packages to reduce waiting time and WIP
- Implement TPM, preventative and predictive maintenance on key equipment 
- In-source some refurbishment activity 
- Introduce new production planning system to maximise constraint utilisation

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