New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership
C/A Design Inc., Set-up for Success!
C/A Design Inc. has provided engineering services, compact heat exchangers, CNC machined components and electronic enclosures to a variety of customers in the aerospace industry since 1993. The Dover, New Hampshire-based company employs 44 people.
As a preferred supplier to BAE Systems, C/A Design was invited to participate in Lean continuous improvement activities offered by the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (New Hampshire MEP), a NIST MEP network affiliate. Training for these activities was funded by a grant from the Department of Defense to assist BAE in strengthening their Supply Chain.
New Hampshire MEP and project manager David Hess provided Lean training assistance to the company. They began by assembling an employee Kaizen team for a standard 5S (Sort, Set-In-Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain) Workplace Organization Kaizen to help organize equipment and staff and standardize procedures in C/A’s tool room. The goal was to improve throughput. Since all C/A production team members were responsible for their own set ups and it was determined that set ups were at the root of the throughput delays, the team focused their attention on the set-up processes. In a very short time it became evident that the current tool room simply did not meet their needs. It was extremely small and poorly laid out causing all kinds of bottle necks and waste as production team members spent significant time away from their machines searching for parts, waiting for their turn in the small area and finally setting up their own tools for upcoming jobs. With this discovery, the Kaizen took a different turn and grew into an event to design and lay out a new tool staging area. In their plans the group made sure the area was properly equipped and had sufficient capacity to handle all the tooling. The Kaizen team developed and wrote up standardized procedures so a tool room employee could easily and efficiently pre-set up the tooling for each job and have it ready when production time came. Then C/A Design hired a designated person to run the new tool room thus freeing up the production staff. Additionally, C/A Design began working with an outside vendor for their cutting insert inventory so that process is now vendor managed and no longer an employee concern.
- Realized $38,000 in savings.
- Reduced changeover time by 30 percent.
- Estimated reduction in set-up generated scrap by 95 percent.
- Created 1 job.
“We have learned a great deal by using the tools that Mr. Hess taught us and continue to use them each and every day. We did our first Kaizen with the help of New Hampshire MEP and have since been able to work eight others on our own.”
Andy Heath, Lean Coordinator