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International Journal of Production Research Vol. 48, No.

10, 15 May 2010, 2975–2993

Managing lean manufacturing in material handling operations
James C. Green, Jim Lee* and Theodore A. Kozman
Engineering Management Program, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, P.O. Box 44170, Room 244 CLR Hall, Lafayette, LA 70504-2250, USA (Received 17 July 2007; final version received 8 January 2009) The problem addressed by this research is to implement lean manufacturing in a material handling system of a petroleum drill bit manufacturing company. Lean manufacturing has been mandated by higher level management as a tool to be used in waste reduction. Operational group must define the objectives of lean manufacturing and deploy the tools to specific work cells. A methodology that provides operational group with a tool to assist in defining the objectives of lean manufacturing is developed. A case study is used to demonstrate the lean implementation in material handling operations. Keywords: material handling; lean manufacturing; case study; value stream mapping; diamond drill bit components

1. Introduction The proper flow of materials through manufacturing processes allows industries to generate and maintain a competitive edge. This edge is the ability to meet customer demand for on time delivery, generating good customer satisfaction. The proper selection of material handling systems and manufacturing concepts such as lean manufacturing (Hobbs 2004) help to facilitate increases in productivity. Lean manufacturing is based on the elimination of waste, both value added and non-value added, from the processes that are used to produce goods and services (Feld 2001). These lean tools also contribute to creating a safer and more ergonomic work environment. Material handling is defined, simply, as moving material. This is the popular perception that many hold, but in fact material handling includes much more than simply moving material. For a significant number of manufacturers, material handling can account for more than one-half of the total cost of manufacturing. The flow, movement, and storage of materials in the manufacturing processes of firms often require a great deal of resources, both employees and equipment. Material handling is also regarded as being a non-value added function that is still necessary for the successful completion of the manufacturing process and can have a marked affect on the ability of a firm to meet managerial goals (Myers and Stephens 2000). The cost generated by material handling systems can be reduced if steps can be taken to improve these systems. Productivity and the incidence rate of injuries, specifically lost time injuries, can also be improved by positive changes to material handling systems.

*Corresponding author. Email: jlee@louisiana.edu
ISSN 0020–7543 print/ISSN 1366–588X online ß 2010 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/00207540902791819 http://www.informaworld.com

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The problem addressed by this research is to implement lean manufacturing in a material handling system of a petroleum drill bit manufacturing company. Lean manufacturing has been mandated by higher level management as a tool that will be used to assist in waste reduction. Operational group must define the objectives of lean manufacturing and deploy the tools to specific work cells. A best practice of lean manufacturing implementations is to approach the event slowly by implementing in a single pilot cell and then continue to spread to other areas of the organisation (Wilson 2008). Our case study will be limited to the implementation of the developed methodology and lean manufacturing principles in a single cell to support the use of this best practice. A review of lean manufacturing literature related to materials handling is presented in Section 2 of this paper. Based on the methods and tools available, a methodology is developed in Section 3 which can be used to implement lean concepts in materials handling systems. The step by step procedure described in the methodology is then followed by a case study in Section 4. The performance evaluation of the lean implementation is summarised in Section 5. Our concluding remarks are presented in Section 6.

2. Lean manufacturing in materials handling Lean manufacturing is a tool that many companies focus on for continuous improvement of processes. Long term strategies as well as short term goals of these firms involve implementation of lean manufacturing to eliminate waste and boost performance. However, many of these companies only undertake the initial strategic move of defining lean manufacturing as a philosophy and never provide functional roadmaps to daily operational teams for the implementation of lean manufacturing. Biddle (2006) indicates that the time and resources to sustain lean manufacturing are often not provided by top management to operational teams. One of the key areas where a sustained lean manufacturing implementation can have great affects on the performance of a company is material handling. Flinchbaugh (2005) points out that lean manufacturing applied to material handling should encompass all available lean manufacturing tools, consist of a complete view of the technique, and not be an extension or single facet of a lean manufacturing implementation. Management should look at the problem completely and consider all key concepts and techniques, regardless of the focus of the lean manufacturing implementation (Cutcher-Gershenfeld 2002). Five key steps for implementing lean manufacturing to material handling systems are defined by Harris and Harris (2006). These steps include: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Develop a plan for every part. Build the purchased parts market. Design delivery routes. Implement pull signals. Continuously improve the system.

While these steps are valid for many material handling systems, they do not provide a method for determining specific goals for a lean manufacturing implementation into the material-handling system. Schieber (1999) approaches the problem of determining a more effective way of handling stock packaging materials in a food industry firm. The method used to conduct the study was focused on employee involvement and reducing the occurrence of back

Many facets of the organisation beyond high level production management affect the overall performance and objectives of the operational groups. they also take some . . and resources that will be used in the production unit to meet the business goals defined by higher management (Stevenson 2002). The significance of developing such a methodology can help operational teams to determine what exactly they wish to accomplish when implementing any given cell: . is meeting the goals of the operational group so that the higher level goals of the organisation can be reached and customer needs met. The primary goal of the operational group is to define the specific tasks. and piece-wise implementations are ineffective if the overall objectives are not understood. The implementation of lean manufacturing tools and solutions development assists in determining how the implementation of the tools and solutions will fit into the process and how several concepts can be followed as guidelines to help ensure the success of the implementation. This input lays the basis for deployment of the methodology and affects the development of any possible solutions. The key focus. . . What does the solution need to provide? What waste is to be reduced? How will the process be affected? What metrics should be used to evaluate the results? 3. processes.1 Management input Management input includes the objectives of the organisation as defined by higher management as well as the business objectives of the operational groups and teams.International Journal of Production Research 2977 injuries by manually handling the stock material. the solution is implemented and monitored through selected metrics to gauge continuous improvement and reinforce objectives and goals of both the work cell and business unit. Review of lean literature indicates that no specific methodology for determining objectives of lean manufacturing in regards to material handling is available. Methodology The methodology used to determine objectives of lean manufacturing in a material handling system of a machine cell involves several steps. The input of management is very important. Finally. 3. Cochran et al. Even though these operational groups or plants report through the higher level production management group. These steps begin with management input to determine the goals of the business unit and the operational group. A lean manufacturing assessment must be conducted to determine the potential locations of waste reduction. Development of a lean manufacturing strategy will help determine how lean manufacturing assists in the overall implementation strategy and how the potential solutions can be prioritised for selection and implementation. regardless of what tool is implemented. The definition of objectives for lean manufacturing are determined as a result of the prioritisation and comparisons of possible solutions and the overall strategy. This point relates directly back to the need of developing a method to define the specific objectives of a lean manufacturing implementation. (2000) states that system design methods must be tied into the objectives of the system.

2 Lean assessment Once the business unit goals of the operational group have been defined. and (2) analyse the facility layout. the lean manufacturing assessment should focus on the way that materials flow through the processes of the organisation and how this material flow affects what is expected of the operational group. technology and research and health. 3. and waiting for set-ups and administrative work to be completed. including logistics used to move products in relationship to where the products originate and their destination. looking at the current process flow and what is desired in the future flow. direct hours. The area that this decision will point to will be based on the results of the value stream. The first step in the development of the strategy is to decide the location of the initial implementation within the value stream.3 Development of lean strategy The development of a lean manufacturing implementation strategy that is in line with operational group objectives is very important. a lean manufacturing assessment must be undertaken to determine where areas of opportunity exist for improvement. finance and accounting. The assessment must be done while keeping in mind that the focus of any lean manufacturing implementation is the removal of waste from the system. With material handling being the focus of this research. 3. value stream mapping and analysis of facility layout must take into account every movement of the product regardless of the distance or time that it takes to perform the movement. direction and input from other functional groups such as human resources. The selected solution will have a set of steps or processes that must be carried out for successful implementation. Management must prioritise them and compare them against any possible solution that is presented to eliminate waste in material handling from the chosen cell. and overtime hours worked versus those planned. A typical value stream map would look at all steps of the process as the product moves from one operation to the next. raw materials and consumables projections. or cell. . The business objectives of the operational group can consist of such things as specific productivity or through-put numbers. specifically what areas can or cannot be addressed based on capital requirements or operational importance. Green et al.2978 J. including all the time that the product would spend in queue. 3.C. the decision to move forward with an implementation can be made. being worked on. engineering and safety goals. the area that has exhibited the most waste.4 Definition of objectives of lean manufacturing Once the solutions and their affects on the goals have been prioritised. in transport. The two most effective ways of assessing are (1) value stream mapping. of the initial implementation is identified every occurrence of material handling in the cell must be reviewed and compared against the objectives of the operational group. The lean manufacturing assessment can be carried out in a variety of ways. and management needs. safety and environmental groups. Once the area. When addressing material handling. The development of this strategy will show how lean manufacturing tools are tied into business unit objectives and thus lead to the definition of operational group objectives.

space utilisation or productivity. Each metric selected should not only correspond to the defined goals and objectives but also to the lean manufacturing tools and solution component used to meet these goals and objectives. especially to those of the work cell where the implementation is taking place. These objectives of lean manufacturing are based on the operational group and what they must accomplish to meet the greater goals. The best way to show these metrics to all employees is to post them in the location of the cell. The team chartered with the implementation must keep this in mind and to maximise return when assigning members of the pilot cell who will assist with the implementation. Each of these tools approaches the lean manufacturing solution and implementation from either the process standpoint. 3. The importance of monitoring the implementation and recording metrics plays into one of the most important factors of lean manufacturing. Feld (2001) stresses that there are five primary elements of lean manufacturing and that these elements cover the full range of issues that surface during an implementation. When combined with effective metrics for material handling. metrics should be selected carefully. operational rules. The first is that the employees in the cell can have constant visibility of how the implementation and solution are affecting their performance and reaching the objectives of the cell. their completion. The second is that confidence is built in the philosophy of lean manufacturing. Both the equipment used as well as the process involved in material handling should be examined to determine the best steps when applying these tools to the area that has been selected to eliminate waste. If these employees do not have responsibility for making the improvement.5 Implementation of lean tools and solution development The selected solution should be developed using all available lean manufacturing tools. These charted solutions need to be made available to all employees. total productive maintenance and 5S. All metrics should be recorded and charted to show how the solution is progressing. The third is that all members of the organisation can see how and when additional efforts may be needed to continuously improve the effort to reduce waste in the system. These elements and the tools associated with them give the basis of the tools and measurement techniques that can lead to a successful solution and implementation. such as total productive maintenance and 5S. To monitor the implementation. or from the equipment layout. optimal benefits can be gained in the elimination of waste. Some examples of tools that can be applied to the solution or used to implement that solution are cell layout. continuous improvement. such as travel distance. then they will feel that they cannot be held accountable for its success and therefore will have no vested interest in making it work. It is most beneficial when a holistic approach is used.International Journal of Production Research 2979 The process steps of the solution. 3. such as cell layout and operational rules.6 Solution implementation and monitoring The implementation of the specific solution must be performed by the individuals who are responsible for operations in the pilot cell. and the series of metrics selected to measure them are the objectives of lean manufacturing in regards to material handling systems of the selected cell. By posting the metrics in the work cell. . several things can be accomplished.

Discussion was also held on how important material handling is to the facility and the need to make improvements wherever opportunities exist. The industry focus and use of material handling systems is a result of the need to move parts and components of parts through a variety of manufacturing processes. Business unit and operational group goals. Material handling systems in the industry must be able to blend into this mix of machine tools and heat process cells.2980 4. 4. The facility is divided into a series of heat process and machine tool cells that allows for the production of a variety of product lines. top management has prescribed that lean manufacturing needs to be phased in to complement total quality management in defining the culture of the company.C. giving operators the ability to bring products to market. Operational group goal (research focus) Improve productivity by 10% Improve cycle time by 5% to ensure OTD rate maintained Implement one lean manufacturing project Increase capacity by 25% Reduce recordable incident rate by 25% Reduce hand injury rate by 30% Mitigate material handling risks Focus Operations Business unit goal Improve overall productivity by 10% Maintain on-time-delivery rate Begin lean manufacturing implementation Increase overall capacity by 20% Reduce recordable incident rate Identify and mitigate hand safety risks Address material handling risks Growth Safety .1 Management input To begin the study. In this case study. The facility is approximately 15. information was collected from the operational group on specific business goals of the facility.000 square feet and accommodates roughly 100 direct employees. Table 1. however. Management did. discuss the need for any immediate changes to have minimal negative affects to production due to the current business environment. support staff. business needs. it was determined that the material handling needs of a single cell would be initially addressed. These goals will be instrumental in defining the objectives of lean manufacturing in regard to material handling during the deployment of the methodology. and management. To align with best practices of implementing lean in a pilot cell and with a project that could result in an ‘easy-win’. and management discretion. This table also displays the specific goals of the operational group. Green et al. It was also determined that the pilot cell would be chosen by the following factors: the results of the lean manufacturing assessment. The purpose of the case study was to develop a solution for a material handling problem by following the steps outlined in the methodology section for lean implementation in regards to a selected work cell. Table 1 displays the information collected from the management on business unit goals. The case study was performed at a manufacturing facility of the industry leader for petroleum field diamond drill bits for oilfield services industry. Case study J.

The basis of the value stream map developed is determined based on the ability to coordinate lean manufacturing tools to the specific details and scope of the lean manufacturing projects undertaken. The potential areas for improvement or waste locations in Process Stream A can be summarised as below: (1) The reduction of time to transport and place shank components in the inventory area. (4) The reduction of handling time to move the component into the machine to attach to the crown. (3) The reduction of staging time in the crown machine cell. it helps to show where changes to the material handling operations may have an impact on waste reduction. as well as assessing the opportunities that exist in the current state map. it can define activities that take place from time of order until cash is received. Figure 1.International Journal of Production Research 4. (2) The reduction of handling shanks from inventory area to the crown machine cell. Tapping et al. it can define activities and measure time from conceiving product to its launch. Cell layout. Based on the information collected in Table 2. creation of a current state map.2 Lean assessment 2981 Figure 1 shows the general layout of the crown machine cell and a lean assessment was arranged for the cell. The current state map outlines the steps of the crown machining process before any opportunities are addressed and aids in identifying waste in the process. When the value stream map data is tabulated. For this reason a modified value stream map was used in place of a conventional value stream map. The lean manufacturing assessment included the first stage of value stream mapping. . (2002) indicate that the value stream map can define activities and measure times from receiving to finishing of parts. process stream A has the greatest opportunity for improvement. It is important to keep in mind that this current state map is based on material handling in the cell and not the actual operations of the cell. Value stream maps can be represented in several ways depending upon the scope of the project. machining and assembly of drill bit components. The current state map is displayed in Figure 2. or it can be geared toward the specific scope of the project.

. 4. the methodology leads to developing the lean manufacturing strategy. Green et al. From the list of goals for the research location listed in Table 1. (2) Improvements to cycle times. The lean manufacturing strategy was developed by reviewing business unit goals and comparing the potential opportunities to these goals. the following truncated goals were selected for the comparison: (1) Improvements to productivity.2982 J. crown machine). Material handling value stream map – CM cell (CM. Figure 2. With these potential waste locations identified.C.3 Development of lean strategy With the decision made to begin the implementation in the crown machine cell and with the areas of opportunity identified. the next step is to develop a lean manufacturing strategy based on business unit objectives to remove waste.

Process stream Handling time 120 minutes 30 min/week (15 min  2 deliveries per week) 60 minutes 180 min/week (90  2 times per week) 1 day 490 min/week (7 min  70 parts) 25 minutes 350 min/week (5 min  70 parts) 180 minutes 420 min/week (6 min  70 parts) 25 minutes 280 min/week (4 min  70 parts) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Queue time Yes Process step Opportunity Comments A Shank materials arrive to inventory A Travel to inventory area for storage A Shank storage A Travel to crown machine cell as needed A B Part moved into machine for assembly to bit crown Bit crown – furnace operation Process controlled B Travel to crown machine cell for staging International Journal of Production Research B Loaded into machine for processing 2983 .Table 2. Value stream map data – current state map.

C. The goals of increasing capacity and mitigating a material handling risk were not used for the comparison. Incorporate new lifting and handling devices to attach shank to the crown 5. The waste locations used in the comparison were those defined through the value stream analysis. A second reason is that addition of resources. The main reason for this is that because by the nature of this research the result of any solution will be the implementation of a lean manufacturing project that will identify and mitigate material handling risks. (C) reduce recordable incident rate. These areas of potential opportunity are included in Table 3. which displays the comparison. Move location of shank inventory Waste location Affected 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 Y Y Y N Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y N N N Y Y Y Y Y A Y Y Y N Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y N N N N Y Y Y Y B N Y Y N Y Y Y N Y Y Y N N N N Y Y Y Y Y C N Y Y N Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y N N N Y Y Y Y Y D N Y N N Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y N N N Y Y Y Y Y Total impact factor 1 4 3 0 8 4 4 4 0 12 4 4 4 3 15 0 0 0 3 3 4 4 4 4 16 2. (D) reduce hand injuries. Change the process of staging shanks in the crown machine cell 3. Change the way shanks are delivered and handled in the crown machine cell 4. Business goals Solution 1. Therefore. is not within the scope of this research. Several generalised solutions for the areas of opportunity . J. any gains made from a solution will be potential productivity increases. Change the way that shanks are staged in the crown machine cell Waste locations: (1) the reduction of time to transport and place shank components in the inventory area. (3) Reduction in recordable incident rate. (4) Reduction in hand injuries. such as machines and personnel. (3) Reduction of staging time in the crown machine cell. The research will not focus on gains that result from adding resources that will have a direct affect on increasing capacity. through-put increases and safety improvements. Green et al. (2) The reduction of handling shanks from the inventory area to the crown machine cell. (B) improve cycle time. Business goals: (A) improve productivity.2984 Table 3. Solution comparison. (4) Reduction of handling time to move the component into the machine to attach to the crown.

and 5 can be combined into the more general potential solution of ‘Improving shank handling within the crown machine cell’. waste locations. and company goals can be used to clearly define what the objectives of lean manufacturing are in application to material handling in the crown machine cell.International Journal of Production Research 2985 were generated. 4. The primary lean manufacturing tools that were used to develop the staging device and the specifications for placement and use in the crown machine were centred on the five primary elements of lean . (2) Move location of shank inventory. Several lean manufacturing tools were used to assist in the development of a storage device that could place the components for ease of use and conform to reducing the space demands that the previous method of staging shanks in the cell required. The prioritisation list provides the priority that lean manufacturing project solutions should be implemented in the cell. Based on the potential solutions listed in Table 3 and the description of the potential solutions. the following prioritisation was made: (1) Improving shank handling and staging within the crown machine cell.4 Definition of objectives of lean manufacturing Several general solutions were developed that have the potential of addressing the identified waste locations and meet business goals. 3. Solutions 2. These results show the best potential solution for meeting the requirements of management and also give the general idea behind any future development of specific solutions. (3) Increase the productivity and through-put of cell operators through implementing a staging device and procedure that will create a Kanban system for operators so parts can be pulled through the cell. The prioritisation list along with the information gathered from the comparison. it is evident that only three unique solutions have been presented. The top three objectives of lean manufacturing in regards to material handling for the crown machine cell are: (1) Develop and implement a solution for improved shank handling and staging in the crown machine cell. The results reported in Table 3 display the areas of opportunity that can be addressed that will have the greatest impact on meeting managerial goals. Table 3 also shows that these three solutions individually have a greater total impact factor than either of the other unique potential solutions. In examining the potential solution ideas. (3) Incorporate new lifting and handling devices to attach the shank to the crown. specifically hand injuries. (2) Reduce the potential for recordable injuries. Each solution was compared for its possible affect on the areas of opportunity and on the goals of the research location. through implementing the developed solution for improved storage of shank components in the crown machine cell by reducing manual handling of the shanks and improving the ease in which shanks can be identified and retrieved. These priorities call for the development of an improved staging system and procedure to use in eliminating waste from the material handling system of the crown machine cell.

A vertical storage arrangement would allow for optimised space utilisation. Roles and responsibilities All personnel involved must know exactly what their duties and functions are and how they should be carried out. issues and needs. Logistics Kanban pull system A pull system can be utilised for the purpose of moving inventory through the cell instead of having parts pushed in before they are prepared for processing Operational rules Clear rules on the operations of the cell must be put in place. holding a maximum number of parts safely. Table 4. regardless of shift.C. Organisation Training Cell operators must be trained to properly utilise the new system with the specifications outlined by the lean implementation Communication plan Clear communications must exist between management. cell operators and inventory personnel. Lean manufacturing tools used to develop solution.2986 J. Metrics Space utilisation Optimise available space and show improvement by comparing current space with space needed and used for new system. The project called for the development and fabrication of a device that could store shanks vertically. know exactly what it is they are expected to do and conversely inventory personnel and management know exactly how they must support. Green et al. 5S housekeeping Implement 5S to reduce clutter in the cell and improve cell cleanliness reducing hazards that can lead to injury. Manufacturing Process mapping flow manufacturing defined by Feld (2001). Travel distance Offer a metric to use for determining if the exposure to handling parts has reduced for the goals of minimising recordable hand injuries and improving productivity. They can be used as a baseline for development of a handling and staging system that can mitigate material handling issues in the crown machine cell. Table 4 displays the five elements and the tools selected for use from each element. 4. This tool will assist in gathering metrics for plotting process improvement. Process control Visual control Compare visual signals to determine if the new system utilises visual cues that signal the need for re-supply of parts that improve upon current methods. Primary element Tool Usage Provide a comparison between the current state and the future state once the solution is implemented.5 Implementation of lean tools and solution development The first project selected to implement was to develop a device that would restructure the way that shanks were stocked when needed at point of use. The device would also allow the operator to retrieve parts . This will allow for the clear flow of information for the purpose of reporting results. This will ensure that operators.

5 kg) or less. a parts flow plan was created to ensure smooth flow of materials from inventory and receiving to the staging location. Figure 3 displays a conceptual drawing of the device. are handled from the higher storage positions and the larger heavier shanks are stored lower allowing for crane rigging or lifting using the legs.International Journal of Production Research 2987 Figure 3. Each level of storage was designed for various sized shanks. having everything needed within 30 seconds or 10 steps. and the bottom level was designed for sizes 7 f to 9 inches (200 mm to 228 mm). the middle levels were designed for shank sizes 4½ to 7 f inches (115 mm to 200 mm) (the most common sizes). Proposed staging device. The top level was designed to support shank sizes 1½ to 4½ inches (38 mm to 115 mm). The solution also needed to accommodate safety requirements as well as reinventing the method used for handling and staging shank components in the crown machine cell. 30 lb (13. Placing the shanks in this manner ensures that the operator will not have to manipulate the larger parts from high positions. based on size while keeping to the lean manufacturing concept of point of use. The device was designed to support the storage of 46 shanks. . To complement the implementation of the new staging device. This creates a more ergonomic location where only small parts.

To reinforce the implementation and training. Green et al. Each row was configured to hold a specific number of parts. Tiered rows and storing parts by size also provides a visual signal that the operator can use to determine when the restock needs to occur or if certain sizes that will be needed have been stocked when required. and management must be fully aware of best practices when using the device and when manipulating to load or unload the device. twice a week. Storage arms were approximately 11 inches (279 mm) long spaced 36 degrees apart and at a 30 degree angle from the base. Rotation of each level gives the operator the ability to handle shanks that are staged at any location on the device from one location in as near a proximity to the machining controls as possible considering safety and space constraints. Inventory personnel would be responsible for placing shanks on the device in the cell. Each level was designed for 360 degree rotation. The device was designed vertically to maximise space utilisation and enable it to be placed as closely as possible to the operator’s control unit on the NC lathe used in the cell. placing any excess parts in the inventory area to use at the next restocking. inventory personnel. all employees involved must have clear communications to keep materials flow moving as required. All operators.2988 J. The opportunity to clean and sort through other cell tools and work spaces fell naturally in line with the implementation supporting the 5S concept and lean manufacturing project implementation.C. To support the creation. on average. The implementation of the project provided the opportunity for the cell to also undergo a rearrangement that could be performed based on lean manufacturing’s 5S theory. Cell operators also had the responsibility of informing management of such events so adjustments could be made to supply levels from vendors or scheduling to maintain process output. All employees must have clear knowledge of what their respective roles and responsibilities are based on operational rules of the cell. The main thought in the development of the device was the use of the lean manufacturing tools selected from Table 4. Once proposals were returned the best overall solution. a materials flow plan was put in place during the implementation. The purpose of the materials flow plan was to minimise the amount of movement out of the cell that operators had to make to retrieve shanks stored in inventory or not yet moved to inventory from shipping and receiving. 4. which coincides with a portion of this theory. This visual cue system that provides specific locations for parts to be stored and pulled as needed creates a Kanban pull system. Altering the shank staging method to prevent the parts from being stored on flat surfaces and on the floor removed a potentially hazardous situation.6 Solution implementation and monitoring All necessary engineering and production drafting was performed for the device and submitted for quote proposal. The base was designed at 30 inches (762 mm) square with the top level 52 inches (1320 mm) above the base and each level approximately 10 inches (254 mm) below the preceding. . It would then be the cell operators’ responsibility to inform inventory personnel of any rapid reduction in stock levels so an accelerated restock could occur. A plan was put in place to train operators once the device was implemented. This would allow for restocking. with the entire device holding enough parts to supply the cell for approximately 3 to 4 days. unless customer demand of specific completed bits forced parts lower in the order queue to be elevated.

was chosen and the device was ordered. While waiting for the device to arrive. all necessary arrangements were made in the cell for installation. and management were brought together and given explanations and training on how the implementation would take place and their specific roles and responsibilities. inventory personnel. or future state map. the 5S exercise had been completed and the installation could occur. stocked with initial parts from inventory. two carts measuring 28 inches  30 inches (712 mm  762 mm) and an area on the floor approximately 36 inches  36 inches (912 mm  912 mm). The device was put into place and anchored. and management to become accustomed to the new method of shank handling and staging in the crown machine cell. a mix of delivery and cost. The device put one half weeks worth of shanks in a space 36 inches  36 inches (912 mm  912 mm) compared with the 30 inches  48 inches (762 mm  1200 mm) work table. Performance evaluation The top three objectives of lean manufacturing in regards to material handling in the crown machine cell were compared with the metrics that were captured to weigh the . inventory personnel.International Journal of Production Research 2989 Figure 4. A brief ‘break-in’ period was allowed for operators. Cell operators. and placed into service. After the initial training cell operators were coached on how to perform the 5S on the cell with the knowledge that any necessary support from management would be provided. is displayed in Figure 5. 5. The new cell layout is displayed in Figure 4. Layout after lean implementation. monitoring of key metrics began and a new value stream map created for material handling in the cell. Once the device arrived. The device prevented parts from being stored on the floor and on flat work spaces such as tables and carts which occupied an enormous amount of space in the cell. Once this ‘break-in’ period was over. Saving this space allowed for easier passage through the cell and a safer work environment. The new device was placed in a more strategic location to work in accordance with the 5S exercise performed by the cell operators. Cell operators were consulted and brought in for a training session in just-in-time with Kanban pull system and 5S. The new value stream map.

Future state value stream map – CM cell (CM.2990 J. The shank staging device was developed to facilitate meeting this objective. crown machine).C. several improvements were made. The device was designed specifically to accommodate the geometry of the shank allowing for ease of loading as well as ease of shank selection and retrieval without increasing the time needed to perform these tasks. Figure 5. As seen from the table. The first objective was to develop and implement a solution for improved shank handling and staging in the crown machine cell. impact of the implementation of the solution. Table 5 displays the comparison of the future state map performed after the implementation and the current state map created before the implementation. Green et al. .

Table 5. Process step 120 minutes 30 minutes 60 minutes 180 minutes 1 day 490 minutes 25 minutes 350 minutes 80 minutes 1 day 210 minutes 40 minutes Total time variance 30 minutes 30 minutes Current step Future state map Variance 90 minutes 30 minutes (30 minutes) 60 minutes 180 minutes (80 minutes) None 490 minutes 25 minutes 140 minutes (40 minutes) 865 minutes Process stream International Journal of Production Research A Shank materials arrive to inventory Queue time Travel to inventory area for storage Travel to crown machine cell for staging Queue time Shank storage Shank staging Queue time Travel to crown machine cell as needed Queue time Parts moved into machine for assembly to bit crown Place excess shanks in inventory area 2991 . Comparison of current state and future state maps.

50 weeks of production time. Conclusions The manufacturing environment has had many tools available for the act of process improvement.2992 J. However. . Key metrics were determined and monitored. this adds up to a time saving of 700 hours. Specific objectives of lean manufacturing were defined through careful use of the methodology and potential solution concepts identified. Providing this road map is the responsibility of operational units. If conservatively averaged at 14 hours per week across the entire year of continuous operation. the operations after the implementation of the device saved approximately 865 minutes per week. If the savings are taken as a direct cost reduction. This is a substantial waste reduction and can be shifted either to improved productivity or labour cost savings. Once the methodology was developed. It was clear that the solution provided a method by which to eliminate a great deal of waste from the material handling system. A key metric that can be used to determine exposure time to handling parts is the amount of time that the parts spend in transit. for example.000 could occur.C. the facility can transform 700 hours into additional throughput. 6. either during transfer between work locations or during processing. These examples give an idea of how using the methodology to develop a solution that defines management’s objectives and offers a way to meet those objectives can positively affect the reduction of waste in the process of material handling. By providing a methodology for management to determine and meet goals. then an additional 14 parts per year can be produced. this tool is often mandated by higher level management as a way to reduce waste from manufacturing systems without a specific road map to carry this out on a case by case basis. it was applied to a case study at a leading manufacturing facility of the drill bit manufacturer. An example is if it takes 50 hours to produce a completed part. Due to this. then if labour rates were charged. Lean manufacturing has proved to be one of the most successful tools that manufacturing facilities can employ. Green et al. The third objective of increasing productivity and through-put of the cell can be measured in a similar way to that of reducing exposure to potential incident. a saving of $21. The second objective was to reduce the potential for recordable injuries by reducing manual handling of shanks through improved methods to identify and retrieve the parts from staging. As can be seen in Table 5. or 14. A specific solution was developed from the process of implementing the project using many lean manufacturing tools. The handling time from inventory to assembly was approximately 1020 minutes per week as compared to 330 minutes per week. If this saving is used to affect productivity.4 hours. the solution was carried to other facilities with cells that performed the same or similar processes. operational groups can move toward providing road maps for the implementation of lean manufacturing projects. It is clear from Table 5 that the implementation of the solution had a marked affect on handling times. at $30 per hour. A methodology was developed using several lean manufacturing concepts and the material handling issues identified through assessing the cell selected for the implementation.

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