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AskLDI Case Studies – Automotive production kaizen


We are a $90 million Automotive product business. We make components for cars.

In one of our production cells we found that our OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) was just over 50% and we struggled to deliver. The OEE was varying a great deal and we found it stressful to try to meet the demands.

We started to collect data for short stops (minor/small stops) because we didn’t have that many breakdowns. Our data showed that we had operator missing for 38% of the time. We added a spaghetti chart for some operators to understand movements.

Using a Kaizen approach and PDCA thinking, we gathered the data and found that operators where asked to do several activities away from the machines, such as first piece inspection, moving material, data logging, SPC, etc. We locked at the countermeasure ladder and as a team we developed an idea to add a water spider. The reasoning we had was that the activities outside of the machine has to happen, so we have to find a way to do that without losing production time. A cost and benefit calculation showed that if we could add one person, we could eradicate close to 100% of the short stops.

The presented the findings and the calculation to the management who realized that we were correct.

We added 1-person per shift and followed the short stops for 2 months.

We found that we still had shorts tops and the team met again. It became clear that we needed a signaling system to alert the water-spider. We added Andon lights to support that and kept following the data. Loss eradicated.

We increased the sales and output and the cost was deducted from the calculation. (I’m not allowed to share the USD for that)

We made sure we had SOPs for all activities and trained all persons.