HepcoMotion starts to reap benefits of Lean Manufacturing

22 March 2010

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HepcoMotion is implementing proven business tools and techniques for lean manufacturing and the initiative is already paying dividends. In just eight months, results can be measured in a reduction of lead times, improved quality, generation of less waste material and greater operational efficiency.

The programme encompasses several proven strategies, ranging from improving teamwork and sustaining workplace order through to the full evaluation of manufacturing practices and the implementation of cellular production.

Furthermore, right-first-time methods have been adopted in two key areas. Bar coding has been introduced in the company's stores to ensure the correct product is dispatched. Also HepcoMotion is working through a Six Sigma Programme to optimise its manufacturing process. A key benefit of this will be the ability to determine, quickly and efficiently, the best way to meet the most challenging of customer specifications. This process is being undertaken with the help of the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service, Brunel & Gordano Training and SEMTA.

Reduced lead time

Cellular manufacturing has already been introduced on two product lines – MCS and PRT rings. As a result HepcoMotion has made substantial reductions in material movement and work-in-progress, with a corresponding improvement in lead time. A similar strategy for other products is now in view.

Improvements in teamwork is another focus for HepcoMotion, the purpose of which will be to optimise quality, delivery and waste management. Barry Engstrom, Production Director, explains: "Working towards leaner manufacturing has certainly been challenging. We have all been on a steep learning curve but what has become very clear is that this is an ongoing process."

Continuous development of products has always been central to the HepcoMotion strategy and this approach is now being rolled out across the entire business operation. Engstrom concludes: "It is all about looking at ways of making incremental changes that enhance the business and add value to the service we provide our customers."

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