Material handling and packaging can help TOC implementation

There are a multitude of programs that can go under the umbrella of lean manufacturing.   Theory of Constraint techniques don’t always get labeled under lean manufacturing practices, but often the most significant cost reductions can come by applying the principles of TOC.    Theory of Constraints was introduced and developed by Elijah M. Goldratt back in the early 1980’s.  Mr. Goldratt was originally creating a scheduling system for a company, when he realized that a manufactures output and schedule attainment was dependent on the constraint.   He wrote his first book about the subject in 1984 called “The Goal”.   It is an easy to read story that introduces the principles of Theory of Constraints.   The five principles for adapting TOC are as follows:

  1. Identify The Constraint
  2. Decide How to Exploit It
  3. Subordinate all other process to it
  4. Elevate the Constraint
  5. Repeat the Process

Once the constraint has been identified, all of the manufactures focus must be directed to increasing the output of the constraint, as by definition the output of your system is equal to your constraints.   The goal is to run the constraint process with 100% uptime.  All other processes are subordinate to the constraint.

How do Packnet’s capabilities apply to TOC?   Often times simple storage or material movement carts are needed to maximize the constraints output.  Two ways that simple material handling can help:

  1. Set up reduction:  Rather than have the constraint idol while the set up is being performed at the machine, many times some or much of the setup can be “pre-packaged” in an offline operation.   Just as one job is about to finish its run, a “set up cart” is prepared off line with all the set up materials and tools.   Some of the pre-set up activity can include pre-assembly of jigs and fixtures and arranging materials and tools in a standardize format so the as much work is done off line and when brought to the machine with the tools and materials arranged for maximum efficiently.
  2. Loading Material:  Often time’s material is transported and dropped off at an operation by a material handling cart where it sits on a rack or shelf waiting to be loaded.   We have seen companies modify carts so that it is also used to feed the material into the machine when ready.   This eliminates a material handling step and can minimize down time for material loading and unloading.

Sometimes the best way to focus on your constraints is by offloading activity that doesn’t increase output or add value to your product.   Packaging and crating are important, but most company’s should focus on their core competency and not be distracted by other activities.    Packnet can help by taking over your packing and crating activities, thereby letting your business focus on what it does best and let Packnet help you out by doing what it does best.

There are many other creative ways to use simple material handling carts to make operations more efficient.    Packnet has the design and engineering expertise to custom build inexpensive material handling carts that will dovetail with your material handling needs.