Oregon Metal Slitters

Challenge

Fixed equipment, concreted machinery, and heavy industrial processes

Operational challenges due to variating amounts of inventory within factory

Long setup times made it difficult to meet customer needs

Information flow needed to be improved

Solution

We started by analyzing the current state and reviewing material flow at each position. We were then were able to establish a redesign goal based on a key strategy of putting the steel rolls back into raw stock. This was unusual in industry; once a coil of steel is put on the line it is usually fully run.

Their requirements were based on demand of 70 pallets per shift. They were initially able to achieve this with 3 full-time packagers. We focused on improving safety and ergonomics, reducing the space needed for the process, and reducing the number of personnel needed to meet demand. This was all possible by reducing the setup times and designing equipment to put the steel back.  This allowed OMS to manufacturer closer to customer needs and make available coils for other unique cutting and slitting needs.

Finished goods inventory was reduced by creating a quick changeover system and reducing lead-times. We also focused on office functions to eliminate errors, redundancies, and the waste of processing in order to speed up the flow of information. The demand for quicker responses came due to the factory putting away the steel and not occupying manufacturing time to run the steel out.  This freed up opportunities to offer unique orders to customers and fulfill more customized needs of the customer. In the end, the customer benefited greatly with more available capacity and variety from each machine line, and able to receive products to match their order needs.

Results

We were able to perform packaging and slitting with personnel in the same area. The 70 required pallets per shift that originally needed 3 dedicated personnel could not be completed with only 2 people. OMS was able to increase capacity per shift in order to shutdown the third shift, saving the costs that went with it.  Finally, the square footage used for WIP and Semi-FG inventory areas was reduced by half.

These improvements allowed OMS to gain more control and stability of cash flow while better matching the movement of the commodity pricing. They were able to build a new raw material warehouse with a direct rail spur, further enhancing their ability to respond to increasing needs of customer orders.

This streamlining of processes, along with shorter lead-times and improved information flow, resulted in great customer service and agility for OMS.

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