Challenge

Incorrect orders being shipped

Burden of re-work

Difficulty moving specialized equipment

Batching due to setup times and division of labor

Excessive work-in-process

Solution

We started with a “walk-through” of the processes, gathering data to establish cycle times and customer demands. We simultaneously rooted out and eliminated engineering constraints.  From there, we were able to identify major engineering challenges with the fabrication and testing of the ophthalmic lasers. With this information, we designed simple simulations to experiment with new layouts and processing designs. The optimal layout was then implemented to created standard line flow.

Results

After implementing the new line flow, assembly lead-time was reduced from 17 days to just 15 hours. Productivity increased from 17 to 20 units per week, and this was based on real demand. The space needed for assembly was reduced from 2585 square feet to only 700 square feet. More impressively, we increased the productivity of engineering, assembly, and shipping staff by 367% and reassigned staff to other research projects. When we began, they had $156,000 worth of work-in-process inventory stagnating on the line. After implementing our new line flow, they reduced this to $52,000 for a savings of $104,000.

Throughput increase along with component defect reduction and a lower failure-rate of functional tests increased their profitability 225%.

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