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Manufacturing Success Stories

Viasystems-Milford Pilots Lean Operations to Increase Productivity

Viasystems-Milford supplies contract manufacturing services to the electronics industry. The 110,000 square-foot facility, located in Milford, Massachusetts, employs 175 people.  

The company was building on a shop floor layout that required the products to travel thousands of linear feet; permits storage of thousands of pieces of semi-finished work-in-process (WIP); promotes little or no communications linkage between operations; and rewards performance metrics in operating departments that are counterproductive. The company realized that it needed to make significant changes to its facility and operating processes, and contacted the MassMEP, a NIST MEP network affiliate, for assistance.

Applying Lean
MassMEP began a lean evolution at Viasystems by offering training in lean concepts – through its Lean 101 and Time Wise workshops – to all company employees. After everyone at Viasystems understood the basic concepts and procedures behind the lean manufacturing philosophy, MassMEP conducted a value stream mapping (VSM) exercise, which documents every operational step of the company’s PCB product family. During this exercise, MassMEP guided Viasystems through the conceptualization and design of a more efficient and productive system. Finally, MssMEP scheduled selected kaizens to implement the lean production system designed during the VSM activity, with specific focus on the company’s Prep-Slide area.

The initial 5S Workplace Organization kaizen resulted in the removal of over 30 items and 75% of excess WIP from the production area. The next kaizen, Cell Design, built on the results garnered from the 5S and resulted in a 75% reduction in linear feet traveled by the product, a 50% reduction in space required to produce the product, a 50% capacity increase, and a 30% increase in productivity in the production area. Viasystems is now saving space, time, and money thanks to its leaner production system.

  • Removed 30 items from the shop floor.
  • Reduced WIP by 75% for a total savings in excess of $25,000.
  • Reduced traveling distance for raw materials and finished goods by 75%.
  • Reduced space required to produce the product by 50%.
  • Increased plant capacity by 50%.
  • Increased productivity by 30%.

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