In the past, Packnet has posted updates on its efforts and results regarding our implementation of Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM). Quick Response Manufacturing is a continuous improvement strategy based on lead time and response time reduction. It complements other improvement strategies such as 5S or six sigma. We have talked about the benefits of our efforts which include improved quality, reduced lead times and faster response to the customer, but if one toured our plant before and after QRM implementation, what differences would one see?
The first difference one would notice is less clutter on the shop floor. Each work station has significantly less work in process. There appears to be significantly more room in the factory. Work stations appear to be neater and more organized. Material is moving through the factory in much smaller batch sizes.
Another big difference one would see is that operators are spending more time working on products as opposed to searching for tools, materials or rearranging clutter at the work station. With the QRM approach, people are working on products that will be shipped in the next day or two rather than working on products to be shipped in the next couple of weeks. Operators don’t look any busier than before, but they are spending a much higher percentage of their time on value added work. The result is that material flows faster and more efficiently through our factory.
One would also notice more visual management. Material is identified with easy to read tags, there are simple charts and graphs throughout that improve communication. Color coded signals are everywhere. Material is pulled through via Kan Ban signals rather than pushed through. Everyone more clearly understand the goals and objectives and how they are being met. Many of the metrics and measurements on the shop floor are time based, since the focus of QRM is time.
Another area that one would notice a bigger difference is the shipping and receiving area. There are much more frequent outbound shipments and inbound deliveries as material is flowing through our factory faster. We have implemented Kan Ban systems both with our customers and our suppliers.
There are many things that one might not notice in a QRM environment such as less issues relating to safety and ergonomics. The biggest safety issue in most factories involves material handling. Packnet’s safety record has always been something we’ve been proud of, but we are pleased that our QRM efforts are helping us create a safer work environment.
If you are a Packnet customer, then the differences are easy to see, and one doesn’t need to tour our factor floor to notice. Our faster response times are very noticeable. Lead times are lower, on- time delivery from Packnet is higher. Your inventory is lower because Packnet is delivering JIT to your plant rather than in large batches.
Many of our customers are asking more about our QRM program because they are interested in implementing the system in their own factory. As they say: “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. If you would like to learn more about Packnet, give us call and schedule a tour of our facility. We believe that once you see our plant, you will be convinced that Packnet should be your supplier of custom packaging Solutions.