These days Axelent Engineering also offers solutions for those parts of the production flows that do not necessarily need to be, or can be, automated. With the help of visual inspections, interviews, analyses of available data and, in some cases, time studies, recommendations can be compiled for making the area in question more efficient and productive.
Andreas Erlandsson, Logistics Analyst:
“The idea is to provide the customer with a good decision basis from which to adapt the flow of machinery, expertise, procedures, human resources, etcetera, to achieve the perfect balance between cost-efficiency and delivery service.”
Speedy and appreciated evaluations
Andreas has conducted evaluations on manufacturing and inventory flows and production types at some of southern Sweden’s largest companies. At one of these assignments Andreas was on site for a few weeks to evaluate the status of one of the production flows and to plan future implementations.
“The investigation first comprises of a more general survey to identify problem areas and to mark off parts that do not have an equal effect on the flow. We usually check the marked off parts too as they could well impact the flows. If I have a greater overview of the flows from the outset, it makes it easier to provide solutions that are good for the company from a holistic perspective, something that Axelent Engineering always strives to achieve.”
Surveys offer a helicopter perspective
The general survey comprises of inspections, interviews with those concerned from different parts of the plant and checking the order data received, including selected time measurements.
Once Andreas has got an overview, the investigation can be focused on a more precise part of the production type. A more detailed survey can then by carried out comprising of several interviews and, above all, a more in-depth analysis of the in-house developed and acquired data.
The art of identifying the root of the problem
“It’s important to have a critical, or rather objective, approach to interviewing staff, and the respondents should preferably have different roles in the company. This makes it easier to identify the root of the problems. (The problems do not necessarily always have to be identical to problems experienced).
It is also important whenever possible to test the in-house data because people from different parts of the organization could have different views of the problem. Samples of timings and calculations are sometimes all that’s required to confirm whether the information is correct or not.”
The moral of the story: Simple adjustments save money
“In conclusion. As previously mentioned, survey analyses are based on a holistic approach. In order to reduce waste and rationalise flows, Lean could also have a say in the conclusions and recommendations. Generally speaking, our analyses have contributed to bringing down costs. There are even cost-savings to be made from storage operations. For example, a company we helped with our analyses was able to reduce the average order picking time by at least ten per cent. It just needed a few minor adjustments to the procedures.
Considering the relatively short time it took to conduct the analyses, there was good reason to evaluate the company’s production flows. In the odd case it may give proof of profitable and effective flows, but more often than not an analysis will yield possibilities to lower costs radically while maintaining or improving customer service.”