Sykes Group Lean Transformation in Mobile Lighting

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Sykes Group Mobile Lighting Tower assembly operations were a typical jobbing shop in the past. Despite volumes of over 20 machines per month, there were no established processes and no two machines were built alike.

A lean transformation of the Sykes Group operations began in 2009, with the end vision being a process that could respond to customer’s demand in reduced lead time and cycle time with quality built into the process.

Our In-Process quality hand offs ensures that assembly is right the first time. The build process is designed for mass customization, which means that any special tweaks required by our customers, the process can accommodate it whilst capitalizing on the benefits of standardised work and organized flow.

How did we provide solutions for the client’s application?

1. 2009 – Lean Beginnings

This marked the beginning of the transformation of Allight from a job shop to a continuous assembly line. The activities were:

  • Team leaders were engaged to map the build process and identify value add and non-value add activities.
  • Team leaders workshopped their process individually with management and then all came together to brainstorm the best practice. Estimates for cycle times were also made;
  • The critical path was identified and a flow process built;
  • The production area was re-laid, from 3 jobbing areas to one continuous assembly line with standardised work taking place in predefined work cells;
  • KANBAN replenishment was implemented for low value, high volume items;
  • Safe Work Instructions were documented for the standardised work.

2. Product Rationalisation and Capability Development

The focus was on working with our sales team and customers to understand the variability required in the product and to ensure that the design catered for these variations and on gathering data for the next phase of improvements. Key outcomes:

  • Standardisation of design and components across products and formalising into a feature/option hierarchy;
  • Introducing the Industrial Engineering function, commissioning work studies to develop repeatable activities and to verify 100% BoM for all products.

3. Improve Flow and Establish Pull

Actions were as follows:

  • Deployment of IE team to shop floor to work collaboratively with assemblers and team leaders to understand variation in actual cycle time vs expected and to verify the standard work and quality outcomes for each activity;
  • Re-lay and re-level the line to meet the expect forecast demand, utilising the outcomes of the shop floor studies and the 100% BoM verification. Base product components were set up as 100% KANBAN;
  • Implementation of continuous improvement teams for action and resolution of improvement opportunities.

Managing variation within a standardized environment requires team members to be nimble in reacting to customers changing specifications. Team members relish the opportunity to “make it work” and to modify the build process to accommodate our clients requirements.

The Sykes Group manufacturing team works hard to facilitate customization orders in the shortest possible lead time. Depending on available capacity and material, cycle time from receipt of order to delivery to customer can be as short as 2 weeks.

For more information on our lighting towers products, contact sales@sykesgroup.com or visit our branch locator to speak with one of our sales and project experts.

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