The Lean Factory Group UK is being launched to provide UK manufacturers with a new opportunity to learn the theory of lean tools and techniques while observing and examining in detail the operation of a real lean manufacturing cell. Already there are sister Lean Factory Groups established elsewhere in the world, and these have proven that the concept of a consortium of suppliers of products and services benefits companies that are seeking to adopt Lean manufacturing philosophies.
To promote the benefits of lean manufacturing to UK companies, the Group has built a demonstration production cell adjacent to the Bosch Rexroth facility in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. The Group is using the cell as the focus for half-day seminars that explain and demonstrate how lean manufacturing can help companies to streamline operations and deliver improved efficiency, productivity, competitive position and profitability.
The cell embodies the latest developments in lean manufacturing technology and manufactures real products – five variants of metal dollies - to show how effectively lean manufacturing handles today's requirements for high-mix production.
Presented by experts in lean manufacturing techniques from each of the Group members, the seminars include informative presentations that are complemented by practical sessions in the production cell. Attendees have ample opportunity to discuss their individual manufacturing set-ups, objectives, problems to solve and specific requirements with each of the presenters.
Topics covered during the presentations include:
- Value Stream Mapping
- Work Content and Workplace Design
- Dimensioning of the Kanban Control Loop
- The Design of Kanban Boards
- The Customer Order in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system
- The Design of Heijunka Boards
Free of charge and open to all interested parties, the seminars are to be held at regular intervals throughout 2010. The latest details of the programme can be found on the Lean Factory Group UK website. In addition, tailored seminars can, subject to certain conditions, be arranged to meet the needs of individual companies.
The seven partners in The Lean Factory Group UK are Bosch Rexroth, Bosch Power Tools, The Leonardo Group, K Hartwall, ADM Automation, Sick and SSI Schaefer. Between them, these organisations are said to offer all of the products and services needed to implement efficient lean manufacturing systems. Note that other companies or organisations may also be eligible to join the UK group; for example, the group in Germany currently has 14 members, including Toyota Material Handling and SAP.
Within The Lean Factory Group UK, Bosch Rexroth contributes hardware and, in particular, its modular MPS manual assembly and Ecoshape tubular assembly systems. These enable production cells to be constructed or modified quickly and economically to suit users' precise requirements. In addition to conventional pneumatic hand tools for production applications, Bosch Power Tools offers cordless electric tools that are not only more convenient to use, since they are not tethered to a pneumatic line, but also deliver significant energy savings.
The Leonardo Group provides consultancy services relating to lean manufacturing, and also in-depth training courses that cover topics such as flexible production to meet customer requirements, practical flow control, the elimination of process inefficiencies and supply chain management.
K Hartwall is a leading supplier of logistics equipment, including roll containers, dollies and trays for use in lean manufacturing applications. ADM Automation is a specialist in bespoke factory automation and automatic guided vehicles (AGVs), having developed the iCart intelligent automated delivery system device that can best be described as a compact, low-cost, user-friendly 'baby' AGV that has the capacity to transport a 500kg payload. ADM Automation also represents Orgatex, a supplier of visual input products.
Sick contributes expert knowledge of sensor systems, hand-held barcode scanners and 2D code readers, as well as machine vision systems for automated inspection as an aid to achieving zero defects. SSI Schaefer is a leader in the development and supply of warehousing and logistics systems, with particular expertise in high-bay systems, automation and installations for lean manufacturing applications.
The combined expertise of the constituent companies of The Lean Factory Group UK has been harnessed to ensure that the new demonstration production cell embodies the latest and most effective lean manufacturing systems and techniques, and to maximise the benefits for those attending its seminars.
Find out more at the Lean Factory Group UK website, or email Sally Barton at to book a place at one of the free seminars.