By Unison Workplace Strategies
Founded in 1993, Kangoroo Playgrounds Ltd. is a world-class manufacturer of playgrounds, recreational equipment, and sports equipment. Through continuous innovation, a dedication to quality products, and a desire for continuous improvement, the company has emerged as a leader in design and safety. Kangoroo has multiple subsidiaries, including Bison Bumpers, Kan-Rink Ice Systems, RedRailed SkateBoard Parks, and Doc Agility Dog Parks.
The business had to find the additional production capacity needed immediately.
The 2020 pandemic brought an unprecedented 33% increase in demand for their ATV bumpers, and Kangoroo could not keep up.
Produce 800 bumpers per month to satisfy consumer demand.
The first step to gaining that capacity was understanding their current process and finding the bottlenecks.
Every step in a manufacturing process operates at different speeds, and the improvement process was simple: find the slowest step and increase its capacity, then find the next slowest step and improve it, and repeat until all the steps could produce 800 units.
The two biggest bottlenecks at the beginning were the weld-cleaning stations (where welds and imperfections are grinded to reduce corrosion and to make the bumpers look nice and smooth) and the paint station (which is also used for painting all other Kangoroo products at the same time). This lack in capacity was mainly due to the employees’ other responsibilities.
For example, around 75% of the painter’s time was spent preparing or manipulating the parts rather than painting.
Concrete actions to increase production
These are a few of the changes that Kangoroo implemented:
- Clarify and focus on priorities
- Limit interruptions
- Streamline the parts flow
- Define support roles
A 33% improvement in production with an average production of 821 units monthly; consumer demand is satisfied.
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