“KC,” he said, “we just did two changeovers.”
“OK…” I replied.
“We even did them fairly quickly thanks to your help in the past,” he continued.
“”Uh-huh…” I said, wondering where this was headed.
“The problem is that we did two changeovers to run one product.”
“That is not right!” I exclaimed. “What happened?”
“We did the changeover and went to the warehouse to pull the components,” he explained. “When we got there, we found that the caps the inventory system said were there weren’t. We had to find another product for which we had the components and changeover for that one and run. I can’t believe that we wasted an entire changeover! Unfortunately, we seem to have this problem once or twice a week. We just can’t afford this lost production time.”
“Fiddlesticks on double changeovers!” I exclaimed. “There is no excuse for this ever happening.
“There are two issues here,” I continued. “First, if your inventory is not accurate, you need to get the IT and warehouse people on it tout suite and find out why. Second, and more importantly, you should never be pulling your next product and components while your line is stopped. You should always be pulling them ahead of time. Downtime is far too costly to waste on tasks that can be externalized. If you pull while running, you will not only speed up changeover, you will catch these problems before they can cause production delays such as double changeovers.”
KC Boxbottom, packaging detective, is on the case to solve tough packaging puzzles. He is the alter-ego of John Henry, CPP. Known as the Changeover Wizard, Henry is the owner of Changeover.com, a consulting firm that helps companies find and fix the causes of inefficiencies in their packaging operations. He produces a free monthly newsletter called Lean Changeover, which contains articles and tips on changeover and related issues. Reach him at [email protected].