This UK based company takes standard OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) vehicles and converts them into limousines and hearses for the funeral market.
Spread over two sites, the manufacturing process involves stripping a base vehicle back to its frame, cutting it into two halves, and extending the chassis, onto which new body sides and roof parts are added. The outer bodies are then painted, new interiors added, and the exterior is given a high gloss polish paint before shipping to customers.
The manufacturing processes are arranged into small teams of around 2 to 8 employees. The teams were aware that they had a number of problems such as unbalanced workloads, high levels of inventory, and inconsistent process operating standards, which resulted in some confusion and unnecessary delays. They needed to bring their operations under control and develop a clear understanding of responsibility and accountability for the manufacturing processes.
"Operating profitably whilst working in that way was simply not sustainable."
Work began with mapping out the production processes at two levels; firstly, as a high-level overview, followed by more detailed maps at process level. Where typically this would have been completed in a face to face environment, external factors meant that new ways of working were required to complete the activity remotely. The team embraced the challenge, using a range of virtual collaboration tools to achieve success, generating maps of all manufacturing processes.
Mapping the processes generated the following outcomes:
This information was then analysed by the team for possible solutions, and filtered through criteria to see which ones were quick, low cost, and low risk, to implement.
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