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Case Study

EASi Offers Quality Process and Containment Assessment Support

EASi helps an auto product supplier solve critical issues, standardize workflow and improve its processes to avoid nearly $30,000 in expedited shipping costs each week.

The client and challenge
A Japanese-owned manufacturer and distributor of various assembly-related automotive products was experiencing major shipping issues in its U.S. facility. Because of issues with containment, quality processing and labelling, the client was spending nearly $30,000 a week in expedited shipping costs to fulfill its obligations to a major automotive OEM. This manufacturer required a services partner to conduct an investigative assessment for its post-production material handling processes so it could identify and develop strategies to reduce problems at the plant, including short shipments and mislabeled part totes.

The EASi solution
EASi conducted a comprehensive on-site logistics review and capability assessment of the warehousing and distribution operation, focusing on the plant’s inventory, shortage, “pick & pack” and staging activities on both day and evening shifts. Our team observed staff activities and process execution, including shift changeover, communication methods, leadership, order fulfilment, documentation and process constraints. The assessment was conducted over a two-day period and included:

Customer protection assessment
Detection strategy – tool usage, integration, execution
Error/Mistake Proofing – devices, engineering activities, procedure
Containment – capability & capacity to isolate known defects from the customer

Material flow control assessment
Material Handling – procedures, execution, strategy accountability
Control of Non-Conforming Material (NCM) – isolation, identification, and accountability
Part/Product Identification – visibility, detection, and accountability
Identification of activities performed outside of standard procedures

Organizational training in place

Visual factory
Discernment between normal and abnormal, visual detection and response

The results
EASi’s assessment included the following findings:
  • Shortage conditions in manufacturing increased the number of logistics errors
  • Containment activity lacked a problem-solving methodology
  • Non-standardized work led to poor communication strategy and performance
  • Quality inspects required intensive corrective action activity and reporting
  • Logistics expertise and process engineering required from engineering oversight
  • 50 percent employee turnover and 31 percent temporary staff to FTE ratio
We documented these findings in a written report and generated the following suggestions to improve supply chain management in this facility, which were presented and reviewed with the client’s management team:
  • Take time for Pick & Pack staff
  • Segregate short ship area to drive visual management capability
  • Implement an order verification process during load process
  • Hold shift start meeting with GLs, PC, Internal Transport and Scheduling
  • Hold end of shift meeting when goals are not met to identify points of improvement
  • Implement identification & traceability automation (barcode technology)
  • Prepare corrugated packaging prior to shift start
  • Re-engineer quality assurance department
  • Develop on-going tactical operating plan
  • Implement three new positions, which EASi developed based on our review, to enhance accountability across the overall operation
This report enabled the client to understand operational and management needs and effectively shift implementation of the plan to internal resources, ultimately improving the supply chain management at this facility.

Expertise
Supply chain management
Quality engineering