BLM Group: managing large and small batches with the same efficiency
The e-kanban applied to external supplies eliminates reminders to suppliers and warehouse management times. Translating into continuous improvement
Innovation as a vocation. BLM Group Spa has been producing state-of-the-art systems for processing tubes, special profiles and bars for over 60 years. Three production sites, a complete range of responses for every type of request, a market leadership position in tube processing, a network of global presence with local service. With over 500 employees, BLM Group is the only manufacturer on the market to supply all possible technologies for pipes and to integrate them into complex systems, with thousands of applications all over the world.
That’s why in 2014 BLM Group chose to rely on our integrated digital service to automate orders to suppliers. With the integrated management of kanban flows through the web platform, the entire Supply Chain is controlled by any device connected to the internet.
When a company buys many components from external suppliers, it is important to use a tool that minimises inventory and order management costs. Without ever having stock-outs.
Already familiar with the principles of lean manufacturing and manual kanban, used for the management of the internal warehouse, in 2014 the transition to the electronic pull management system of materials began, in particular for procurement.
The KanbanBOX electronic whiteboard begins to move 350 items, all of them purchased, with the intention of doubling them, also integrating all the small parts in a short time, going from 4 to 6 suppliers managed in kanban by the end of the following year. The software has led to a 15% saving on order management time, allowing:
- simplification of the exchange of information
- constant and real-time visibility of consumption
- zeroing of reminders and urgencies
- sizing of the warehouse in line with market demand.
Even in BLM Group the implementation of the software was easy and fast: precisely because of its structural characteristics, the software meets the need for integration with the various management systems. ERP and electronic orders can thus dialogue and always be aligned.
We asked some questions to Antonio Allevi, Head of Standard Assembly at BLM, to learn more about the company’s experience with KanbanBOX.
Innovation also means being able to measure production processes in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, therefore knowing how to translate continuous improvement (Kaizen) into direct and concrete benefits for its customers.
Where did you find out about KanbanBOX?
“From a specialised magazine”.
What were your expectations in introducing an electronic system to manage external purchases?
“We aimed at greater responsiveness of suppliers and the responsibility of the operators on the assembly lines, as well as a reduction in purchasing office times because with the kanban the management software issues only one annual order”.
What objectives did you manage to reach?
“We have increased the efficiency of the kanban to the warehouse, reduced the information passages between business functions and achieved time savings and greater transparency. Exactly what we wanted.”
More than the percentage reduction of the stock then?
“Yes, because in our case the material handled is class “C”. As a result, more than the stock, it was burdensome for us to manage orders for the various business sectors”.
How is it going now?
“Now the mechanism is automatic. For business prudence, we started by expanding the kanban network to 2 suppliers, one of semi-finished products and one commercial. The initial work was only the insertion of data, explaining the innovation to the supplier and training the company staff: in production we have four different lines with 4 different people, inevitably at the beginning, during the training phase, there were mistakes! Quickly overcome”.
How did you overcome them?
“Luckily KanbanBOX is very intuitive and user-friendly: this is definitely an advantage!”