The Pacific Scientific HTL e-Kanban Transformation

By: Thomas Cutler

Pacific Scientific HTL, an internationally renowned maker ofaerospace safety equipment and military defense hardware,adopted lean manufacturing several years ago in an effort toreduce inventory levels and increase the speed of productthrough their plants. A key component of their lean journey wasto institute a kanban system that would govern the flow ofmaterials from their suppliers and through their facility. Whilevisual cues governed their internal production kanban system,fax releases signaled their suppliers.

After a year and a half of using the paper fax release system,it was clear that it simply didn't scale for PS/HTL's 100-plussuppliers, more than 100 fax numbers over 3500 parts on kanban,and 2000 signals sent each month. With numerous points ofpossible failure-did a fax get sent? Was it received? Was itlegible? Was it acted on?-the system encouraged inefficientbehavior all around.

Clearly PS/HTL needed a way out of the paper fax morass and intosome kind of controlled, electronic kanban system. As PS/HTL'sPurchasing Manager Cari Gintz says, "What led us to decide to goelectronic kanban, was sheer frustration and the need to startmanaging instead of reacting."

A 20-minute webcast demonstration of Datacraft Solutions'e-kanban product had alerted Gintz to a system that alignedperfectly with what PS/HTL needed: a system that was easy tolearn and use for buyers, planners, and suppliers, and visibleenough that everyone involved could do their jobs withoutconstant confusion and supply worries cutting into productivity.

Datacraft Solutions and Gintz approached their work together asa project with measurable goals and a clear, phasedimplementation strategy. These were some of the specific goalsPS/HTL targeted:

&bull Be assured of getting what's ordered, and only what's ordered,at the expected date &bull Handle the unpredictable-spikes in demandand other exceptions-predictably &bull Get a clear picture of thehealth of every cell and kanban at any time &bull Automaticallycalculate expected-on-dock delivery dates based on replenishmentlead times &bull Rapidly bring suppliers on board and provide themvisibility of the kanbans they support &bull Shorten replenishmenttimes based on true schedules rather than one-size-fits-allguesswork &bull Evaluate and motivate supplier performance based onaccurate tracking of delivery times and quantities

Datacraft Solutions www.datacraftsolutions.com Matthew Marotta800-819-5326

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