Precision Aerospace Machining and the Seven Wastes of Lean Manufacturing (Part 2)

In continuing on the topic of lean manufacturing in an aerospace machining environment today I will look at how CNC Industries handles the second waste identified in lean manufacturing.  The second waste is typically identified as unnecessary transportation.  At CNC Industries we look both at internal and external transportation as areas that can cause waste.

The costs of external transportation (shipping) are easy to identify.  With external transportation we can easily see the cost of the transportation in dollars as we receive bills from the shipping companies.  Any extra shipments obviously incur additional charges and it becomes important to keep the number of shipments required to an absolute minimum.  To facilitate this we often work with our outside vendors to have our parts shipped directly from one vendor to another in the case that we have multiple outside operations back to back.  As often as possible we find outside vendors that handle multiple processes to save both on the cost of production as well as the cost of transportation.  In addition our AS9100 compliant procedures for selecting and purchasing from our vendors allows us confidence in the quality of the parts that we have outsourced.

Internal transportation costs are often more difficult to quantify.  Many times companies will both start and stop their efforts on cycle times and overproduction as I talked about in the prior post.  Transporting the parts internally more than necessary is also a form of wasted efforts.  The cost of moving the parts throughout a facility may seem minor but all forms of transportation take up time and do not add anything to the value of the part.  In addition every time a part is moved it is another chance for the part to become lost or damaged.

Extra transportation can occur due to a number of factors in the manufacturing process.  If the parts were not scheduled correctly they may need to be moved aside to allow a different part through the machine.  Poor routing of the operations that the part takes through the manufacturing process may mean that a part is scheduled through machines that are far apart in the factory.  Poor engineering of the part machining process itself may mean that the part has more machining operations than necessary.  Any of these items may add additional internal transportation and raise the cost and potentially lower the quality of the part.

Our ERP System – Job Manager 2 – allows us to schedule our parts with confidence that they are engineered and routed correctly.  In addition to the initial engineering and routing we have a comprehensive corrective action system and Process Change Request system that allow us to continually improve our processes.  Each time we manufacture a part we are able to review and adjust the process and operations as necessary to make the parts even better and more efficiently than the last time.

Aerospace machining and the high mix / low volume work that comes with it creates additional challenges in scheduling.  Our engineering processes are designed to quickly work through the numerous issues with new parts and smaller batches.  Our scheduling module in Job Manager 2 has a visual scheduling board that allows us to quickly determine the best routing of each part and quickly determine any problems with the processes involved.  Job Manager 2 also allows us to analyze each part and quickly find any areas that have lower efficiency so that we may quickly focus our efforts in the appropriate places.

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CNC Industries is a Fort Wayne, Indiana based machine shop specializing in precision CNC machining, fabrication and assembly of application-critical and custom machined parts for the Aerospace, Defense, Medical, Industrial and Transportation  markets.   The company presently employs approximately 55 people.

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