For companies seeking opportunities to cut costs, re-evaluating the stock they hold and how they manage it could reap significant rewards, says Paul Scriven, of manufacturing solutions provider Thorite.
Good stock management can be a cornerstone of efficient and cost-effective operations, saving considerable staff time and keeping down time to a minimum.
But busy plants and fast-moving production lines can mean that, even with the best intentions, managing inventory can become reactive, and storage systems disorganised.
Yet solutions are available that can secure long term savings and greater efficiency.
The system for replacing components typically involves a chain of actions which can be slow. To avoid the risk of running out of stock at a crucial point in production, it is common practice to buy in more stock than is actually needed – thereby paying for products which might not be used. Another risk of financial waste comes when plant operatives are tempted to hoard key components line-side.
A potentially high – but less obvious – cost is the amount of time staff spend collecting components from the storeplace.
For example, one Thorite customer, a manufacturer whose plant covered an area of 175,000 sq/m, conducted a time and motion study and calculated that it took an engineer an average of seven minutes to walk to and from their workstation to collect components. Imagine the cost of this in wasted time when scaled up to multiple trips by multiple different engineers?
The calculation did not take into account the considerable time lost by engineers having to search for products through a messy and disorganised tubing cabinet.
Thorite’s solution simplifies and streamlines the system.
First, an audit was conducted to establish stock requirements. A Kanban system was then created, with two identical tubs containing the appropriate number of components, located close to operatives in relevant areas of the factory.
As one container is emptied on site, it is instantly replaced by the second and Thorite delivers a replacement back-up tub within 24 hours. The client pays for a replacement tub onlywhen the first is empty. This rolling system of stock replenishment means it never runs out of essential components.
Additionally, Thorite designed a bespoke tubing dispenser, with tubing automatically replaced when it reaches the last 10m of a spool.
These stock management solutions are suitable for any industrial setting and size. Thorite can also provide a personalised line-side supply of components that an engineer uses on the most regular basis.
Components in kit form make working life simpler for staff and management alike.
For example, a machine requiring 38 different components, all 38 parts will be supplied in one pre-packed box, along with a bill of materials (BOM) that serves as a checklist for the engineer and reduces the risk of human error.
Component kits can be made to any size, so are of particular value to smaller companies.
The benefits of a streamlined stock management system include:
Introducing streamlined solutions which are simple, practical and cost-efficient is a quick-win way to help manage finances effectively and make everyday operations more efficient.
This article can also be found in the issue below.