when perfection is a long-term goal
From manual kanban with post-it system, to the efficiency of electronic kanban. The leading company in its sector achieves better logistics efficiency thanks to KanbanBOX
Creativity, decision, organisation. And the transformation of a problem into an opportunity. The history of Lamiflex S.p.A. has its roots precisely on a brilliant intuition, on that typical ability of Italian entrepreneurship to know how to transform a problem into a new, extraordinary invention: the composite tape, a revolution in the textile machinery industry.
Since that distant 1976, the Bergamo-based company has grown so much that it has transformed from a pioneer to a market leader in its sector (editor’s note the production of composite materials), in Italy and abroad, structuring itself in a modern and efficient managerial organisation guided by three standards: technology, research and performance.
Thanks to the Lamiflex Research and Development team, the company is always at the forefront and, above all, constantly focused on the discovery of new horizons. The Lamiflex product range now includes high-performance materials for the Aeronautics, Medical Industry, Mechanics and Design sectors, as well as Shielding Solutions for electromagnetic radiation.
The initiatives aimed at the continuous improvement of the company’s activities see Lamiflex S.p.A. constantly engaged in personnel training policies, team working and change management. The implementation of a production system based on the logic of lean manufacturing has led to the initiation and evolution of the “GEN2” team which, through the usual lean production activities, critically analyses the company’s production flows.
Thanks to KanbanBOX, implemented in a few days, the first visible results have highlighted:
- an average percentage reduction of 30% of the stock
- a 30-minute decrease per week in material handling time
- a minimisation of the number of reminders
- a reduction in supply times between departments
- an increase in delivery punctuality.
A second phase will see the start of the test phase for the management with KanbanBOX of the entire aeronautical department while, a third phase, the management of at least another 100 articles, with definitive shutdown of the manual production schedule.
Lamiflex produces composite and carbon materials for the textile, medical, aeronautical and industrial machinery sectors.
We asked Salvatore Marzullo, Head of Lean Manufacturing Office at Lamiflex some questions.
Why did you choose to switch to the electronic kanban system and use KanbanBOX?
“The transition to an electronic kanban management system started from the need to automate a well-established, but perfectible, warehouse replenishment policy process. A Lean consultant told us about KanbanBOX that immediately struck us for the practicality and simplicity of its graphics. We submitted it to those who should have used it and the sensations were immediately positive”.
What were the immediate results?
“First of all, the transition from manual to electronic management has led to the elimination of human error i.e. errors related to the loss or incorrect management of Kanban cards. Ultimately, we have seen an overall improvement in the supervision of a system that is now accessible to everyone, everywhere.
Then, in terms of percentage reduction in stock, we detected a -30% not only in stock, but throughout the process. Finally, we estimate an average reduction of about 30 minutes per week in procurement management operating time“.
Did you also see a reduction in production downtime caused by the absence of materials?
“In our case, there had never been production stoppages, but there were an excessive and hidden number of stocks. The electronic kanban system has allowed not only the display, but also the automatic elimination”.
In the KanbanBOX application between internal departments, what data have you been able to record?
“One of the strengths of the application of a single kanban has been the reduction of supply times between departments and the increase in punctuality of delivery. The Benefit/Cost ratio from “without kanban” to “electronic kanban” is about 3.5 percentage points. Which means that for every Euro invested, we have obtained benefits 3.5 times higher than the investment”.
In extending KanbanBOX to your supplier network, how did it go? Have you noticed a reduction in back-office work?
“Absolutely, yes, one of the fundamental benefits of the software has been the cancellation of the number of phone calls and the almost total reduction of confirmation emails. Even the operational e-mails on the management of kanban are gradually fading out: its use is rather intuitive. Finally, hidden WIPs emerged, kept aside and undeclared, which ended up displeasing both the supplier and the internal customer”.
Have you encountered any difficulties while implementing the software?
“From a technical point of view there was no difficulty, on the contrary. After having explained its operation, it was not necessary to do other training. The added value of KanbanBOX also lies in accessibility also from company tablets, which allows us to connect and consult it even outside of the office”.
How did the people involved in the process react?
“At the beginning there was a natural reticence to change, especially for those who were used to working only with Excel, and to the transition from an old push order management system to a pull. In particular on delivery dates: the date of the kanban does not correspond to the customer order and this is a novelty”.
How long did it take to implement KanbanBOX?
“Operationally, 5 calendar days, including the testing phase. The time actually spent was about 2 days of work. After a few weeks from the start, the extension to the new added codes was completed in a few hours. Now, people only do control and maintenance activities, and no longer implementation”.
Would you recommend KanbanBOX?
“Yes, especially because it’s easy to use! The interface for creating the cards, which is visual and functional, is very simple, as well as the ”just one click” system: you no longer get lost in the search for information!”