KanbanBOX and Kaizen Institute: together for Mec – Track

"No-missing parts" Project

This is a successful story for two reasons. On the one hand, the customer, Mec – Track, achieved mind-blowing performances thanks to lean consultancy and KanbanBOX implementation. On the other hand, KanbanBOX and Kaizen Institute made a great partnership, which lead Mec – Track to those results.

The importance of process simplification

The Kaizen word is made of KAI, change, and ZEN, better. It means “changing for the better.” In the Kaizen philosophy, improvement impacts not only the customer but also the company and its employees. This concept can be applied to all market sectors and business functions.

“When the whole organization takes action to achieve excellence, it can achieve amazing results.” G. Gavioli – Senior Trainer Kaizen Institute

So, how can we change to reach the better?

According to Gavioli, a senior trainer at the Kaizen Institute who supervised the Mec – Track project, simplifying processes should come before automating. Automating complicated processes can actually make them even more complex, which is what happened in the case of Mec – Track, leading to unsatisfying results.

Mec - Track’s Lean Transformation

Mec – Track has two plants in Italy producing components for tractors and agricultural machinery. The company contacts Kaizen Institute because the steps in the production process are not aligned, which causes missing deadlines and daily rescheduling.

Kaizen Institute sets a five-year lean transformation process consisting of three phases:

  1. Identify what the value is to the customer
  2. Simplify the process to achieve this value
  3. Incorporate any supporting technologies

They decide that the value to the customer is the delivery of quality material on time, and they move on to the next steps.

Mec - Track transitions from the push approach to the pull one

Before the lean transformation, Mec – Track used the MRP to create the production plan. However, the plan was being punctually disregarded due to the anomalies in facilities and stocks.

Now, it is the other way around. The customers’ demand shapes capacity planning. Then, the first step is checking if the needed resources are available. In this way, they prevent the daily rescheduling.

Moreover, high-rotating material is put on Kanban, a lean technique to streamline the replenishment process and prevent shortages.

Lean Methodology Results on Mec - Track

  • Lead time decreases from 20 to 7 days
  • Deadline fulfillment increases by +98%
  • Production line output registers +8%
  • Set-up times are cut down with the SMED technique
  • Stock are reduced by 50%
  • The teams share problems earlier and solve them faster, avoiding cascading impacts on the next steps.

Mec - Track electronic kanban

Once the company has streamlined the processes, the ground is ready for a further step. So, they implement the technology to boost the new approach.

Kaizen Institute chooses the electronic kanban KanbanBOX because the manual kanban is no longer suitable for managing all the company’s material flows. Indeed, Mec – Track wants to extend the kanban to its suppliers. However, using a physical kanban with the supply chain is impossible. KanbanBOX, on the other hand, is made for connecting a company both with suppliers and customers.

In one and half months, the digital kanban is up and running.

Mec – Track believes that the strength of KanbanBOX lies in making visible all stages of the replenishment process to the actors involved. By scanning a kanban’s barcode, the operator can verify the kanban status or set a new one (available, empty, released, in process, shipped, etc.). KanbanBOX also shows real-time statistics about the process’ advances or stock’s critical situations.

Moreover, with KanbanBOX Mec – Track’s suppliers can join the software at no additional cost.

Mec - Track extends e-kanban to suppliers and customers

The company gathers its suppliers to design the Value Stream Map and train them on KanbanBOX. Mec – Track not only registers suppliers on its account but also involves them in the project, laying the groundwork for further joint progress.

KanbanBOX shows the same data to the customer and the supplier.

This is the key to its success.
Davide Cavazza, Logistic Manager @Mec – Track

Mec – Track is satisfied with KanbanBOX because they can finally talk to suppliers about process improvement, no longer wasting time aligning data from different sources.

In addition, now suppliers can make decisions quickly and independently. Indeed, they gained visibility into useful data, such as the amount of stock at the customer’s premises.

This network-based approach applies not only to Mec – Track and its suppliers but also to Mec – Track and its customers. The company has finally decided to extend the software to its entire supply chain.