The last update to our process for scheduling natural rubber latex tubing production was in 2008 – but successful growth calls for continuous lean improvements. Due to the increasing demand for our natural rubber latex tubing products, we determined that our process for scheduling natural rubber latex tubing production was not as lean as it could be.
We got to work, forming a Kaizen team that would tackle this challenge. The team outlined goals for this event, including reducing overall time spent scheduling the production of our natural rubber latex tubing, error proofing the scheduling process, reducing the amount of handwritten entries involved with scheduling, and updating all documents used by the scheduler.
Eliminating Steps and Improving Functionality
After mapping out the process of scheduling natural rubber latex tubing, our Kaizen team found that there were 53 total steps and worked to reduce that number to 29. The team then reduced the chance for human error by forming a process for copying and pasting incoming orders to the natural rubber latex tubing schedule. They also added additional tabs to indicate non-stock or stock items. As a result, team members can now use the scheduling program to print out Production Request forms, which were previously handwritten.
The team also improved the functionality of the natural rubber latex tubing schedule by adding columns to calculate scrap percentage and combining multiple forms to eliminate the need to look in different areas for needed information. In addition to these schedule updates, the team updated the weekend compounding form, which will be emailed to the compounding department. Our operations manufacturing database was also updated. With all the changes made, the need to verify orders using our database management system was eliminated.
New Process Implemented
Shortly after this Kaizen was completed, the new scheduling method was implemented and all personnel that use this schedule were trained. Since these changes were made, the process for scheduling natural rubber latex tubing production has improved with better accuracy, organization, and time savings!
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KEP’s Kaizen improvement events are an important part of our success story for many reasons. Holding hundreds of these Kaizen events over the years has not only made a positive impact on our bottom line, they have also improved the daily work of our team members and...