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QRM brings shorter turnaround times and improved predictability to Elaut

When the production department at Elaut found it more and more difficult to keep up with the increasing numbers of orders, it decided to change strategy.  


Based in Sint-Niklaas in Belgium, the designer and producer of amusement and gaming equipment sells its products around the world to amusement parks, carnivals, funfairs, casinos, etc. In view of the wide-ranging public and variety of markets, each with its own preferences and national legislation covering games of chance, the range of products offered is very diverse and, in some cases, includes many variations of the same game. In addition to this, the production runs are small and the range of products keeps growing. Many of the older games remain available as long as there is demand for them.

 

Sales increased during the last few years, which, in turn, resulted in an increased turnover and more orders. The increasing sales have gradually taken production levels right up to the capacity limit. Delivery times were already long and often unpredictable resulting in having to indicate long lead times to customers just to be on the safe side.

 

The production procedures are continually modified and optimised, but the planning continued to be an issue because of the differences in production times. The company decided to learn more about QRM (quick response manufacturing), for which the production manager completed the QRM Alpha Specialist training course. Elaut moved from completing customer orders to daily orders. A number of machines are completed and the work for the next day is prepared by the end of each day. The system dynamics makes it possible to carry on working despite the various types of products and components, each of which requires a different production time.

More transparency

The advantages of the new system were soon apparent: greater transparency provides information on who is producing what and when, the workload is distributed more evenly, the lead times are shorter, no intermediate stocks were required on the shop-floor, the daily production became easier to anticipate and faster feedback means errors and defects are detected immediately. The added bonus was that the levels of stress and the need for overtime decreased and time became available for continuous improvements.

 

More QRM procedures are planned for the future: transition to self-managing teams, adapted workplace lay-outs and creating Q-ROCs ("Quick Response Office Cells") at the offices in order to achieve a QRM strategy throughout the company. This will result in a higher output working with the same number of people and also improving delivery time predictions. The company would like to shorten lead times even further and, where possible, have limited stock available to handle order fluctuations better.