In the world of high tech sheet metal, demands on manufacturers have changed dramatically over the years. Gone are the days of large volume purchases and demand for quick turn deliveries have increased considerably. This shift has resulted in new challenges to delivering products in a fast-changing environment and the need to ensure consistent product quality under any circumstances.
In order to tackle these challenges, Century-Tywood Manufacturing saw the need to approach these changing demands from a new paradigm and for us, that shift led us to Lean Manufacturing.
As a high mix-low volume manufacturer of sheet metal and machined components, we decided to make significant investments in our people and process. In 2017 Century-Tywood was awarded a Workforce Training Grant by the state of Massachusetts for the implementation of Lean Manufacturing into our operation.
Our goal was to create a World Class manufacturing facility that could compete anywhere in the world, a big goal and a challenging opportunity. We committed our workforce to over 6000 hours of training, redesigned our manufacturing process and made significant investments in new equipment during the grant, which has benefited our customers greatly.
Our ongoing Lean programs help us to continuously improve our operation and have provided major benefits to our customers from our quality system, on-time delivery, quick turn production through our flexible manufacturing cells and less inventory exposure of large production runs.
Traditionally, sheet metal fabricators make production runs in large batches which spell trouble for manufacturers when demands change quickly and deliveries need to be pulled in or pushed out. Shop layouts focused on moving these large batches from one workcenter to another create issues with excess travel, quality, and overproduction. All of which are considered waste in a Lean system.
In order to meet demands more effectively, we looked at every step of our operation to see where dramatic changes in our layout and process could impact our ability to be more flexible and drive efficiencies. The result was a completely redesigned shop layout with Flexible Manufacturing Cells with cross-trained teams focused on reducing both machine setup time and product cycle times.
By colocating traditional workcenters within a Manufacturing Cell, we have been able to make dramatic improvements to our flexibility.
This flexibility has benefited our customers on numerous levels and helped us create a roadmap for future success by focusing our energy driving value back to our customer.
JIT and Kanbans programs
Just in time manufacutring and Kanbans programs are a key component of Lean manufacturing and flexible Cellular Manufacturing. From vendor delivery programs for raw stock and components to customer Kanban programs, Century-Tywood strives to create a complete system from start to finish.
We work with our customers to create the best possible manufacturing plans from prototype through the changing dynamics of product life cycles. The best manufacturing plans start with Design for Manufacture and continue with our Design for Production planning where we analyze product demand, manufacturing best practice and specific manufacturing cell capabilities to ensure placement of parts and projects are being produced in the most efficient and flexible manufacturing environment.
This process allows us to create deliverable Kanban quantities to meet customer demands and to adjust programs when needed. These programs, when developed in partnership with our customers, produce the most consistent, on-time delivery schedules and allow for maximum flexibility for increases in manufacturing quantities. It also reduces potential exposure from an overproduction of inventory.
We get just in time of all of our material from our internal service center to our cutting center
We maintain kanban programs for many of our customers.