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Modifying Our Assembly Process

To ensure the quality of our products and reduce the potential for particulate in the assembly room at our Mogadore facility, we put together a Kaizen team to focus on improvements related specifically to cardboard debris. In the process of making these improvements, the team also identified additional ways to increase the accessibility and decrease the potential for contamination.

After their initial assessment, the team identified the need to eliminate cardboard boxes in a few areas of our assembly room:

  1. Boxes used for final packaging
  2. Boxes used to store assembly parts
  3. Boxes used to hold various daily use items

Developing Solutions to Meet Goals

When the team began the Kaizen, each assembler had multiple boxes which were stored on a skid, and multiple skids for the completion of work orders. We also had various daily use items such as gloves, twist ties, and box labels stored in cardboard throughout the room.

By purchasing several rolling carts to transport finished parts, we were able to eliminate the need for cardboard within the assembly room. The Kaizen team put together a new process for packing, sealing, and palletizing the assembled items on a skid placed outside of the room. The skid used for parts necessary for assembly would be replaced with a rolling stainless steel table to be loaded with parts in the warehouse area. The daily use items would also be stored in plastic bins on their respective shelves, instead of the cardboard they came in.

Identifying Additional Changes

In addition to accomplishing their initial goals, the Kaizen team implemented several plans to increase the accessibility and decrease contamination surrounding assembly:

  • Adding appropriately labeled containers for hair nets and lint roll refills stored which were outside the assembly room doors
  • Placing a mirror in the same area with which assemblers can properly don hairnets
  • Moving the dumpster from immediately outside the assembly room to behind the extrusion lines
  • Limiting traffic through the bay door to decrease the amount of debris allowed into the assembly room

The new procedures mean the general laborer no longer has to perform tasks which have been returned to the assembly team. In addition to reducing the potential for particulates or contaminates, the updated procedure has significantly decreased the amount of travel during an assembly shift, decreasing the amount of trips from 180 trips/shift to 54 trips/shift – a decrease of 126 trips!

Improvements in Review

An initial 90 day review determined that all cardboard continued to stay out of the assembly room while assemblers had adapted to the new techniques. After a 1 year review, the team found that all improvements were sustained and are still working well.

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