How Proplanner's Line Balancing Module Saved an Automotive Company $5 Million
During Proplanner’s 2021 User Conference, Proplanner partner Realizing Operational Improvement LLC (ROI) presented how Proplanner’s Assembly Line Balancing Module saved an automotive client over $5 million per year.
The client was an automotive company that had been having a difficult time keeping up with the increase in product demand. One of the main challenges was synchronizing multiple body shops into one paint shop.
Within the paint shop, there was limited standard work for the 52 processes to paint multiple vehicle platforms. The client didn’t have a standardized process to create and maintain job descriptions and content. Some areas had their own systems such as SharePoint or Excel but even then, there was no consistency across their data. With different versions of each system, it became difficult for employees to figure out which file was the latest version as well as how accurate the data was.
Additionally, some jobs had process sheets, but they were often outdated, hard to understand, and not accessible by operators. Even within the engineering team, documentation and implementation procedures were non-standard.
ROI went to the assembly floor to speak with team leads and operators to observe jobs and tasks that were taking place via video. Due to COVID 19 hitting in the middle of this project, capturing video of the manufacturing process was critical. Capturing videos allowed the client to perform a MODAPTS Time Study within Assembly Planner.
Assembly Planner was then used to create routings for each area of the paint shop (ED booth, wet sand, slat line, and final inspections). Each line had its own routing, and within each routing, activities were created for each station. Model codes were then designated to specify various option content in order to break out the multiple vehicle types.
After this initial data was entered into Proplanner, ROI worked with the client to create line balances for each area to display operator utilization versus TAKT time. The Line Balancing module was utilized to ‘freeze’ the current assembly line state and create a future state reduction proposal. Line balancing graphs were then used as a visual tool to show the client optimization opportunities.
“After inputting in Proplanner we were able to show its current state. Which I would say is one of the most useful ways to communicate with the client to show here’s what you actually have right now, versus what you need.” – Lindsay Youngren, Project Manager at ROI.
ROI ran trials alongside the process engineers to collaborate on what changes should be made. Once agreed upon, the changes were made in each routing. The next step was to create standard worksheets that are posted at every station. The client requested time to be added on sheets for the operator to reference. The client has a high turnover rate with operators, so this becomes a helpful training tool when they’re looking at the worksheet to learn their job and to know how they’re doing.
Posted Standard Work:
After documenting all manual content, running trials, optimizing jobs, and using line balancing to show current and future proposals they found that the client was able to reduce 18 operators per shift (72 operators total).
This amounts to over $5 million in savings per year.
Since then, the client has added a second paint shop where Assembly Planner is also being used to manage processes.
If you would like to learn more, please watch ROI's full presentation below.
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