Bridon is a leading specialist in the manufacture of wire and rope solutions for the most demanding applications. Bridon products provide solutions to the most arduous and technically demanding challenges, extensively used in construction, mining, oil & gas extraction, telecommunications, automotive components and other specialised areas of engineering – Markets where there can be no compromise over product performance, safety or integrity.
In 2005, the company did not have any spare capacity to meet the increased market demand, in particular in the Petro-chemical sector and had to decline new orders. The lead times ranged from 8 to 26 weeks. In order to meet customer demands, productivity would need to be increased by 50%, moving from 2 ropes produced each week to 3. With each rope taking 2 to 2.5 days to produce, the factory was already at full capacity, scheduling was erratic and the highly skilled workforce under increasing pressure. The issue of having to meet increasing customer demands with finite resources is one that can be universally understood in any organization and any sector.
A vital component of managing change effectively and achieving the customer demands is clear and effective Project Management. This capability coupled with clear and accurate communication to all members of the organisation is a cornerstone of LT Consulting’s way of working with our clients.
Shown below are a few examples of this approach in operation:
The aims and objectives of the project were to:
- Increase productivity in the petro chemical sector without impacting on other business sectors.
- Maintain level of overheads while increasing production and capacity with the current facilities and workforce.
- Maintain high standards of product quality and integrity.
- Reduce lead time to over 30%
From LT’s perspective the key to achieving the objectives was to fully understand the current situation, by spending time on site with the team, observing and developing a partnership so the issues can be discussed in an open and honest environment. This step in the LT Consulting model is vital to the success of the overall programme as it identifying exactly what the problems facing the client are. This is achieved using a number of techniques for example, see below:
Once the current situation was understood, the key step was to identify where the areas of waste were. This was done by a series of Improvement events with 8 to 12 people in each team focusing on:
- Operational improvement
- Quality improvement
- Maintenance improvement
The key from the investigations was to take a pro-active approach to maintain the machines to ensure that they could run at full capacity and previous preventive maintenance schedules were not truly focused on critical areas.
What did we achieve?
A value stream map is a picture showing the steps a business takes in creating a product or service for its customers. A map typically shows material flow and information flow. Data is added to these flows to allow the business to identify where there may be problems or scope for improvement.
Overall equipment efficiency is a key performance measure of the shopfloor which considers machine availability, performance and quality. This can be adapted to other environments.
Within three months production had increased to the target of 3 ropes per week with no increase in overheads and a figure of 47% OEE.
The return on the investment in the activity was 1500%, all quality standards were maintained and there were no job losses.
There was no impact on meeting customer demands in the other sectors and once the demands in the petro-chemical sector levelled off, capacity was increased in these other areas.
Bridon has fully adopted the principles of continuous improvement and is currently revisiting its core business areas to build on the previous achievements, including value stream mapping across multiple sites.
Sustainability is evident in daily activities – through standard work, visual tracking and senior management commitment.