Broanmain wastes no time on DOWNTIME

Lean identifies eight wastes commonly known by the acronym “DOWNTIME”: defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilisation of talent, transportation, inventory, motion and extra processing. With a focus on customer value and as a waste and sustainable-conscious manufacturer, technical moulder Broanmain Plastics adopts a First Time True quality culture headed up by quality engineer Sanka Ranasinghe.

Ensuring that quality champions infiltrate every production process, the team is addressing the challenging supply, demand, materials and logistics hurdles and striving towards the company’s ambitious ‘zero defect’ target. Raw material verification, master sample approval, first off approval, patrolling inspections, SOP updates and daily operational meetings are just some of the recently refreshed routines introduced by Mr Ranasinghe in collaboration with the firm’s people, culture and strategy manager Eve Clennell.

Quality engineer Sanka (R) has helped to introduce a First Time True quality culture at Broanmain Plastics.

Mr Ranasinghe explains: “By spotlighting the upstream process-centred phases while simultaneously creating a quality engagement culture, Broanmain manages quality issues at the outset to avoid producing non-conforming products. It’s a blended and systematic approach that detects quality areas for improvement at the beginning of the manufacturing process to improve quality outcomes for customers first time, every time.”

Reviewing the moulder and tool maker’s success in the context of DOWNTIME, Ms Clennell corroborates  how the power of lean when aligned to a cultural-led ethos towards quality is delivering rapid and positive results for Broanmain customers:

#Defects: Completely eradicating all production waste might seem impossible. Yet, defects can certainly be limited through more stringent quality control and better communication and management of expectations. Although it may appear time consuming to validate every quality procedure before production of each component enters production, with First Time True and daily meetings the Broanmain team reports a significant drop in reject rates and post-production quality issues. Internal rejection and rework costs have fallen by over 10 percent in 12 months.

#Overproduction: In fast moving environments, predictability can be hard to master. This is especially true in plastic processing. Kanban and Just-In-Time production used by over 50 percent of Broanmain customers, combined with an efficient MRP system, makes production forecasting more reliable. In reducing customers’ costly stock holdings, significant working capital is not tied up.

#Waiting: Bottlenecks and long set up times can be a huge drain on resources. By operating a ‘pull’ manufacturing system, delays to production, assembly and despatch flows are minimised. Capacity, resourcing and machine availability is updated daily. Consequently, complaints have fallen by 10 percent year on year. When customers report a concern, Broanmain acknowledges these within 24-hours. The team then conducts a thorough investigation using the 8D methodology. Once all corrective actions have been addressed, the case is not fully closed until three subsequent shipments have left the Broanmain facility.

#Non-utilised talent: Lack of engagement can hamstring productivity in every organisation. As an inclusive, multi-generational and equal opportunities employer, Broanmain actively supports multiskilling and offers a wide range of resource support mechanisms, wellbeing and progression maps to facilitate cross-team communication, aid development and address unconscious biases. Preventing good talent being wasted.

#Transportation: To complement our Kanban ordering systems, Broanmain is trialling a more responsive ‘direct to customer’ delivery and box collection service. This includes recycling container packaging and cutting out the middle logistics to save customers money and reduce the number of transport deliveries.

#Inventory: The cost of inventory excess can be huge. It’s why many British OEMs, are turning away from minimum orders set by overseas exporters of components and switching back to domestic sourcing. Proximity to a component supplier not only assist with inventory and shorter lead times, it can also help equipment manufacturers to monitor and resolve quality and precision challenges and circumvent import red tape.

#Motion: Any service must add value to the production process and address manufacturing headaches. Being a natural extension of a customer’s engineering team gives Broanmain greater design freedom and input. This trusted collaboration helps to keep projects moving forward. And with quality champions now infiltrating every production process, from toolmaking to assembly and post moulding machinery, QM isn’t an isolated function.

#Extra-Processing: Going above and beyond is an important service trait. Yet, unnecessary actions does add to cost, time and resourcing. Automation provides a number of ways to refine workflows and eliminate human error. The company’s most recent investments in advanced metrology, CMM and shadowgraph machines are efficient and deliver marked quality improvements facilitating speedier order fulfilment.

“Addressing each of these wastes concurrently through a robust quality management framework means that we are constantly making improvements and improving the quality and uptime outcomes for our customers,” concluded Ms Clennell.