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Internal Operations

The term common kit cart is used because they are shared among all the workstations except for a few exceptions. The exceptions being workstations 504, 506, 520, and engine build-up (EBU: 533,535,537,539). These workstations have specialty carts that were designed specifically for the workstations that they are used to supply kits. They have a pre-specified amount of carts for each station and have been entered into the simulation only to make sure that their current amounts will satisfy the requirements of increased production rates.

The current number of specialty carts was enough for all production rates at the seven identified workstations and therefore will not be reported in the results section. Therefore, when results are shown that report the number of kit carts required for each scenario it is referring to the common kit carts that supply the remaining 21 workstations. Recommended Internal Operations Policy Now that buses flowed through the assembly workstations at a takt time and the SoP concept was initiated the problem remained of how to physically get the warehoused components to all the assembly workstations in an efficient manner.

The warehouse kitted components together for a particular bus at a particular workstation that was scheduled via the SoP

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concept. All kitting was originally done on 2nd shift of the previous day to make sure that the parts were ready (i. e. , kitted) for 1st shift assembly on the following day. These kits were then placed on kit carts that take the parts/components to the assembly workstations where an entire days worth of kitted parts would be staged. The major focus of this research is that of beginning to apply the lean tool of JIT to kitting operations.

Meaning that at least some kitting would be done on 1st shift of the same day as assembly and not all done on 2nd shift of the previous day. So assembly would start production on 1st shift with the kits that were staged on the assembly line from 2nd shift for however many buses the warehouse had kitted and staged components/parts on kit carts then kit carts would arrive at the assembly workstations with components/parts Just-in-Time on 1st shift for the remaining assembly operations. Fast changeover of machines is a cornerstone to JIT production (McIntosh et al 2000).

JIT kitting would reduce the number of kit carts required, reduce kits staged at assembly work stations (WIP), and provide flexibility on the day to day assembly schedule. Also there is less of a financial risk associated with JIT production as raw material, WIP, and finished tend to decrease in value over time (Kros et al. 2006). SoP provides the assembly schedule but sometimes, as with any organization, a bus may need to be expedited through assembly or a change to the SoP order due to parts/components not immediately being available from their corresponding supplier.

Summary Often it is stated that since lean systems are inherently deterministic systems and variation is eliminated thus stochastic methods are not required for analyzing the system. However, an organization may still have variation in the system that cannot be eliminated even when a change to lean has been adopted. This is especially true when an organization is first implementing its lean production system. All variation may not be initially eliminated from the system during its transition period.

This is fine as the fifth lean principle stated by Womack and Jones (2003), states the need for continuous improvement with the final goal of perfection. So perfection will usually not be attained right from the start but a marked improvement upon the system will be noticed. Management has been supplied with a report of the results that indicate kit cart requirements for many different scenarios. The scenarios listed are converging towards better operational status within a lean production system.

As management makes changes to the systems, it can look at the results provided and know the resource requirements associated with each change/scenario. Also management can compare actual requirements after changes to the system to see how they are performing compared to the results provided in this research endeavor. Meaning they can get an idea of how long a kit carts are remaining on the assembly floor by comparing values with the number of kit carts required for varying KCRT values and scenarios.

The ultimate goal would be achieving operations status associated with results provided when KCRT is set to zero. This would indicate that kit carts are immediately being taken back to the warehouse after assembly at their workstations. This can be achieved through more kaizen events focused on making sure that kits have all required parts at all times, assembly is completed within allotted takt time, etc (Cua et al. 2001). This research reported results for a production system that was in the beginning phases of their journey towards leanness.

Although much improvement had been made upon the original system there is still much more room for improvement. This is often the case of any organization implementing lean production systems or even with established ‘lean’ organizations. Since this company was still in the initial phases of change the results that were obtained were limited to only some JIT kitting procedures. The organization realized that ultimately it would only be able to achieve about a 50% divide between batch-and-queued kitting (done on 2nd shift) and JIT kitting (done on 1st shift).

This being as there would need to be a buffer allotted from the time assembly first begins operating on 1st shift. Thus having about half of the kitting done the night before on 2nd shift provides this buffer. This is particularly necessary for this organization as it is still early in its lean progression and production must still be maintained. BIBLIOGRAPHY Abdulmalek, F. A. , Rajgopal, J. , 2007, “Analyzing the Benefits of Lean Manufacturing and Value Stream Mapping Via Simulation: A Process Sector Case Study”, International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 107, pp. 223-236. Badiru, A. B. , 2006.

Handbook of Industrial and Systems Engineering, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. Chan, F. T. S. , Jiang, B. , 1999, “Simulation-Aided Design of Production and Assembly Cells in a Automotive Company”, Integrated Manufacturing Systems, Vol. 10, Iss. 5, pp. 276-283. Cua, K. O. , McKone, K. E. , Schroeder, R. G. , 2001, “Relationships Between Implementation of TQM, JIT, and TPM and Manufacturing Performance”, Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 19, pp. 675-694. Hopp, W. J. , Spearman, M. L. , 2001, Factory Physics (2nd edition), Irwin/McGraw-Hill, New York.

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