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Topic Improve Low Volume High Mix

Improve Low Volume High Mix

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Mike Carnell 4 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Could anyone provide information/examples of how to implement improvement in a low volume high mix environment where there is no pareto effect (80:20) in terms of products?
    The usual approach of improving your “runners” and regular items falls flat.


    @db85 When we were developing the SS methodology a very large number of us (including Mike Harry) were at Motorola Government Electronics. It was almost all low volume high mix.

    The part you and most other people miss is that we are working on processes. When I was at Motorola in those days regardless of the different kinds of boards I built in the wave solder area it was a wave solder process. As long as I understood the process the change overs didn’t matter.

    This whole “I need volume” thing started with the people who didn’t want change. They said it was manufacturing and then they said it was high volume manufacturing. Is SPC Statistical Product Control or is it Statistical Process Control?

    You will find out that the stuff people generate around SS follow volume is pure unadulterated nonsense.


    Thanks. In my process, we fill various skin care and health care products which could be in numerous shaped bottles with different caps, labels, or tubes or jars many with quite bespoke characteristics and wildly varying dimensions. I did a SMED project which delivered very little as the engineers struggle to find the right settings for constant new products so there is a constant, learning curve and hours of adjustment to get the machine running right. They capture the settings once they get them, its just that this scenario is regular so the “noise” is constant.


    @db85 Lots of people fill things so you aren’t doing anything new (just a comment). Let’s go back to the basic way SS should be considered. Y = {f)x. The Y in this case is the dispensed liquid. So have you looked at how well your system dispenses something as simple as water? Can I dispense 1oz of water over and over again? try some other things at different viscosities. Basically a dispensing system is making some type of measurement and then turning off – think MSA.

    Just a thought. If you are using glass bottles the inside of glass bottles normally has a lot of variation. The reason a lot of wine has a neck label is that the inside of the bottle varies. Dispensing liquid is accurate but with the bottle variation they are at different heights in the neck. Not a big deal unless there are a bunch sitting together in a store then it looks like there is more in some than others. They put a label on the neck so you can’t see it.

    So you need to think through dispensing a liquid id a function of what variables (don’t let some engineer go wandering off on some rant about hundreds of variables0. It will be 3 or less. worst case 5 but I doubt it.

    Label placement is a function of what process variables? I doubt the machine is actually looking at the bottle. It is probably getting a bottle in the right place at the right time. Go look at a beer bottling company. A big one. They are placing thousands of labels a minute. Then look at a craft been company that does it slow (craft beer should be making millions of bottles a year that taste the same – that takes craft). You are looking at how labeling machines work.

    Once you understand those variables and their relationships you should be able to change over in a heartbeat. Nobody is going to like you doing this. People are going to tell you that you are wasting your time. Keep your head down and figure it out. If you need to talk about it you can email me at

    Yes I am a consultant. No I am not looking to charge you.

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