Development of a lean optimisation plan for a wire manufacturing process
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The growing demand for maximum operational efficiency has driven organisations towards implementing lean manufacturing as a management philosophy. However, a gap still exists between the available information on lean manufacturing practices in the automobile industry and the non-automotive sectors in South Africa. The primary focus of this research was to establish which lean principles are applicable to a continuous manufacturing environment and to identify existing process and optimisation challenges within a wire-manufacturing process. A literature study was conducted to determine the differences between the application of the lean philosophy in a discrete and continuous manufacturing setting. The material and information flow of the wire manufacturing was further mapped using both a current and an ideal future state value stream map (VSM). The study also incorporated an empirical approach to measure the "leanness" of the wire-manufacturing process by using an efficiency, flow and variability (EFV) metric. Lastly, an aggregate root cause analysis (RCA) was conducted with a chartered team who had knowledge on the subject matter. The EFV metric suggests that the wire-manufacturing process falls within the "potential for improvement" region and that non-value-added waste can be reduced by 36.6% when kaizen (continuous improvement) methods are used. However, analysis of the RCA points to process variables being the most dominant optimisation challenges. The findings from this study were summarised using a Hoshin Kanri matrix. An iterative Delphi technique was used to verify the Matrix based on a 24-item questionnaire. The study in hand adopts a structured approach to support the applicability of lean principles and suggests that such an approach can be adapted to manufacturing environments similar to the case study.
- Engineering