By Chris Harris
Managers are making progress in creating areas of continuous flow as more managers learn about value-stream mapping and continuous-flow cells but many are having trouble sustaining steady output. The problem often is the lack of a lean material-handling system for purchased parts to support the cells.
These companies are becoming lean interms of operating their cells, but they are still mass producers in supplying the cells. They lack the key elements of a door-to-door lean material handling system for purchased parts:
• a Plan for Every Part
• a properly located and managed purchased-parts market
• a rigorous material-delivery route using standard work
• pull signals to tightly link their areas ofcontinuous flow to the supply of materials.
The consequence is starvation of processes, loss of flow, and a major waste of effort and money in keeping too much inventory and spending too much time hunting for missing items.
To introduce such a system, you have to understand everything about every part: How each part is purchased, received, packaged, stored, and delivered to its point of use. Infact, much of this information exists in your organization, but it is stored in many different places under the control of many managers and is mostly invisible. The first step in creating a lean material-handling system for purchased parts is collect all of the necessary parts information in one place – the Plan for Every Part (PFEP).
The chart below shows the most common categories of partsinformation for a PFEP. However, this is not a cookie cutter approach. Every plant is different. You might want to add columns that you need and take out ones that you don’t find useful. Furthermore, as conditions change, the specific items in your PFEP may need to change. The watchword for the PFEP is flexibility, so you need to insure that your information management system is able toaccommodate continuous change.
PFEP Data Elements
|Part # |Number used to identify the material in the facility |
|Description |Material name (e.g., frame, bolt, nut, yoke) |
|Daily Usage |Maximum amount of material used in a day throughthe entire plant |
|Usage Location |Process/areas where the material is used (e.g., Cell 14) |
|Storage Location |Address (location) where the material is stored |
|Order Frequency |Frequency that the material is ordered from thesupplier (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly, as required) |
|Supplier |Name of the material supplier |
|Supplier City |City where the supplier is located |
|Supplier State |(State, province, region, district) where thesupplier is located |
|Supplier |Country where the supplier is located |
|Country | |
|Container Type |Packaging type of the container (e.g.,cardboard box, reusable tote, wire basket) |
|Container Weight |Weight of an empty container |
|1 Part Weight |Weight of 1 unit of material |
|Total Package Weight |Weight of a full container of material...