Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Dieppe, New Brunswick, Nanoptix is a global provider of thermal printing solutions and technologies for the gaming, lottery, kiosk, POS and amusement industries.
Nanoptix has earned a reputation of providing excellent value and customer support, with superior technology at a very competitive price.
The Challenge: An unstable production
Increasing sales, with continuous growth predicted to continue for the next few years and extremely high lead times from suppliers, was creating a need for a large amount of storage space for inventory and finished goods.
Production was being done in batches of 150 units, however, producing in batches negatively affected the stability of production.
Production would vary from 0 to 200 units per day depending on batch progress, errors would only be detected far after they occurred, and it became difficult to plan production.
The goal: To improve operational performance
Improve operational performance to be able to produce 150 units of the Paycheck 4™ Thermal Printer per day to satisfy customer demand, without using more floor space.
The tools used to increase operational efficiency
The work was broken down into three projects to make the changes more manageable.
The location of inventories was planned and standardized to limit employee movement and ensure that parts are where they need them when they need them. Originally, the inventories were managed in “kits” of 150 parts. The kitting process was eliminated, and the inventory was moved near the production line using a Kanban management process. The inventory is now replenished based on need by a designated employee.
The team completed a data analysis to identify the most common errors (top 20%) and set up documentation and individual inspections at each station to facilitate understanding. The follow-up to this project is a continuous evaluation and correction of issues with the eventual goal of eliminating inspections for the Paycheck 4™ units.
This process eliminated some administrative tasks and reduced employee movement. Production was modified to function in a one-piece flow instead of batches of 150 units. This freed up one employee from the process and allowed production to stabilize in order to surpass the goal of 150 units per day.
Other activities to encourage understanding of the importance of operational performance and engagement in change implementation.
- Every employee received Lean Six Sigma white belt training and participated in a waste walk to identify and implement improvements
- Daily huddles were implemented to allow for more communication and to address issues as they arose.
- Coaching sessions with the production management team were held to identify and implement important behaviours; in this case asking for help and bouncing ideas off their colleagues.
- Un compteur de production en direct a été installé. L’équipe peut maintenant voir son progrès de la journée et se mettre au défi de dépasser l’objectif.
- Three months after implementation, the average production numbers were 152.5 units per day, an increase of 13.5 units daily.
- Nanoptix saw 62% less variation in daily performance which makes production planning easier.
- An employee is now available to manage inventory and work on other production orders.
“There is absolutely no doubt the positive impact that Kanban has had not only in our process, but also on staff morale. People ‘feel good’ when they can meet their target every day and it’s tangible: they can see how well they’re doing their work.”– Kellie Carty, Director of Operations.