The racking revolution – Kaizen part 4
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Every production company management executive has at least heard of the Kaizen philosophy. In many companies, this method also supports logistic processes in production. Autoneum uses the proprietary solution of Promag and the implementation was selected as the best Kaizen project in the European Business Group of the corporation.
The main types and sources of waste in warehouse and production logistics result from unnecessary traffic, waiting, unnecessary transport, the creation of pointless stocks, excessive processing, etc. Operating in accordance with Kaizen philosophy assumes manufacturing only products of a certain quality, but above all, implementation of the continuous improvement process within the organization.
It is important to be able to search for and eliminate losses in warehouse logistics processes.
Autoneum Poland is one of the fifty branches of the company operating in twenty countries around the world, producing lightweight multifunctional materials, components and systems of protection against sound and temperature for the largest automotive concerns. In Autoneum’s customer portfolio there are brands such as Audi, Bentley, BMW, Chevrolet, Citroen, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Jaguar, Peugeot, Porsche, Rolls Royce, Renault, Skoda, Toyota…
Many of the tools used in the production process are of considerable weight and non-standard shape. For a long time, there has been a question of how to store them conveniently and safely. Promag’s logistics specialists have thoroughly modernized the buffer warehouse in Katowice, where tools, namely press moulds, are stored. Before the reorganization, all moulds were stored on the floor, which made access to them difficult, took away the necessary storage space and increased the probability of tool damage.
We wanted not only to increase the available space, streamline processes, but also to significantly improve work safety. However, the project required an in-depth, very detailed analysis and the use of tailor-made solutions, because we had to deal with very unusual and heavy loads (from 4 to 6 tons). The work related to the development of an optimal streamlining solution lasted several months. During that time, together with Autoneum, we considered several alternative streamlining concepts,” explained Karolina Tokarz, President of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer, Promag, in one of the interviews.
As a result, it was decided to use a mobile tool warehouse with PHR mobile pallet racks. This is a well-known solution, which increases the storage space by reducing the number of aisles as much as possible. Mobile pallet racking consists of traditional row pallet racks mounted on special carts with an electric motor, which allow for safe movement of the racking.
- access to each pallet,
- operational safety thanks to advanced safety systems,
- electric carts which allows safe and smooth movement of racks.
Here, however, an innovative solution was chosen.
The novelty is that the racks move on running rails in parallel – in such a way that the operator of a forklift truck who wants to take a mould is only given access to a single rack column and not to entire rows of shelves – as is the case with standard solutions of this type.
Thanks to this modification, it was possible not only to multiply the warehouse space but also to significantly speed up the tool picking operations. The additional factors that determined that this solution was recognized when awarding the title of the Best Kaizen Project was a clear improvement in ergonomics and safety of workers and stored goods, as well as workflow, which is of paramount importance for Autoneum.