The VIBCO manufacturing company produces industrial and construction vibrators and vibratory equipment. The family owned business, located in Wyoming, Rhode Island, began operations in 1962 and sells their products in the United States and throughout the world.
The Company’s president, Karl Wadensten, had embraced Continuous Improvement as a culture for VIBCO. They had a Lean Champion on staff and had been using the principles of lean manufacturing for over two years. Major progress had been achieved in the Finished Goods Assembly Department as well as other areas in the plant. Inventories in finished goods had been reduced to a two week average using a weekly min/max “pull system” and the Assembly Department was using cellular manufacturing with point of use storage. However, VIBCO was experiencing bottlenecks in the Repair Department. There was a consistent problem with lead times. Customers were waiting for their repaired equipment for an average of three weeks. Karl contacted Poalris MEP (formerly RIMES) and arranged to bring in a Polaris “Lean Team” for some additional “Lean Training” and to facilitate a “Kaizen” event in the Repair Department.
Through the implementation of a variety of Lean Manufacturing Techniques such as cellular flow and 5S, the Polaris Team, working with the VIBCO team, achieved the following improvements in the Repair Department:
Repair turnaround time went from 3 weeks to two days- 80% improvement.
Transportation waste went from 1257 ft. per day to 843 ft. per day- 32% improvement.
Yearly work content (productivity) went from 1050 hrs./year to 700 hrs./year- 35% improvement.
– Karl Wadensten, President