e-Kanban by Datacraft Solutions Profiled in Copper Case Study

by : Thomas R. Cutler

Outokumpu Copper Franklin, a leading producer of copper and copper alloy sheet, strip and tubular products has been on the lean journey for two years, working to reduce waste throughout the metalworking organization. The firm's internal efforts to reduce inventory and work towards production smoothing were being hampered by a disconnection between the customers' needs and the company's production efforts.

Metalworking Production and Purchasing September 2005 issue features an article titled, "The Metalworking Lean initiative and the Role of e-Kanban"; Thomas R. Cutler (www.trcutlerinc.com) the leading manufacturing journalist in North America authored the feature.

There are many variables that drive the goal of waste elimination, none as keen as the need to be competitive in a global economy. As metalworking organizations implement these lean programs, no action item is providing the rapid benefits of e-kanban. According to Cutler, estimates suggest that almost a third of all metalworking manufacturers are presently engaged in some type of Lean Manufacturing initiative.

Datacraft Solutions' e-kanban: Real Time Production for Metalworking Manufacturers

The company recently implemented an e-kanban solution by Datacraft Solutions (www.datacraftsolutions.com) and according to Scott Stringer, Outokumpu Operations Manager, "The e-kanban system linked us and our customer's production efforts real time. We are now only producing what our customers are buying NOW. There is no more "we need to build this just in case" due the lack of linkage."

Datacraft Solutions' e-kanban: Savings for Metalworking Manufactuers

The Datacraft Solutions' e-kanban system has achieved savings for Outokumpu Franklin in several key areas:

  • It has reduced to zero the need for Outokumpu to build inventory. All production is now initiated based on the immediate needs of our customers. Inventory turns for e-kanban parts are now at 62 turns per year.
  • Time spent by customer service communicating on expedited parts issues has practically been eliminated. They estimated that customer service staff was spending 40% of their time on just expediting part ordersScience Articles, as well as the chaos that this created on the shop floor.
  • Sales have increased with the benefit of the e-kanban program because the copper manufacturer no longer uses capacity to build parts without an order to buy NOW. 100% of production capacity is utilized to build parts that are already sold as soon as they hit the shipping dock.

Datacraft Solutions
Matthew Marotta