At Packo Inox’s production site in Diksmuide, various activities are carried out: design, assembly, finishing and testing of industrial pumps and hygienic components. In addition, the surface treatment of stainless-steel products is also subcontracted to other companies.
In a bid to improve its competitive position, the company was looking for a way to optimize its production and thereby further improve lead times and quality. It applied various strategies to this end and recently made the first steps towards quick response manufacturing (QRM), to enable further improvement. A few years ago, the company wanted to optimize its operations in order to shorten or predict lead times, improve the unclear status of orders, reduce the need to continuously put out small fires, and so on.
Packo investigated the possibilities provided by the Lean approach and started to apply this methodology. Later it evolved into its own strategy: ‘Creating Flow’. The idea was to tackle the largest production group (with growth potential) first, i.e. customized centrifugal pumps. Some important results of the actions were visualization of the flow, a halving of the lead time of a standard pump, a better distribution of the workload and more involvement of the team.
Although the adjusted method was accompanied by many positive results, it was more difficult to apply it to the hygienic components, as this involved customization and there is a great deal of fluctuation in production. With a view to overcoming these obstacles, Packo recently took its first steps towards QRM. Production was divided into QRM cells. In this way the delivery time could be met better, and shorter delivery times were possible. This requires more flexibility and the ability of the operators to perform different tasks, which required additional training.
Furthermore, the company opted to switch to the use of the production control package PROPOS for the production planning of the hygienic components. PROPOS monitors the status of orders in real time and shows the priorities on touch screens in production. The switch to PROPOS forced the company to start working differently.
In the past year, the company took important steps forward by setting up QRM cells, with the PROPOS software further supporting the teams in the cells. In the space of six months, the number of products ready on time has more than doubled.
We thank Propos for providing us this testimonial.