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Reduced batch size pilot

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Reduced batch size pilot

This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  m4cot 10 years, 2 months ago.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #52488

    m4cot
    Participant

    All,
    Im working in a property company looking into the finance processes. The team are suffering heavy backlogs in processing rental statements.
    They currently work in huge batches… pushing work into the process which then sits around waiting to carry on through… they have been tending to wait for a pile to grow and work on that with all resource until the other pile grows… and so on!
    Im running a pilot next week following my data collection on the current process. I have been able to balance the process steps as best possible so I am pilotting a ‘one piece flow’ approach,
    but i have a few questions:
    Is one piece flow always the answer.. or should i try differing batch sizes?
    Is there anything else i need to consider?
     
    Thanks

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    #184652

    Putnam
    Participant

    If you’re getting massive pulses in WIP and things take forever to move through the system, smaller batch sizes will help reduce WIP. 
    However, you also need to get a grip on what else is happening in your facility.  How/when are the raw materials or parts received/released/staged?  Are your processes being continuously disrupted with “priorities”?  How do the orders flow through your system and are silos distrupting part transfers?  Are orders often shipped late and getting later?  How does QA interact with the system?  Are they in the right places and doing the right things?  Trying to reduce batch size when the rest of the system is in chaos will likely not have pleasant results.
    I’d suggest reading a couple of books.  “The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt covers basic Theory of Constraints concepts.  This is a quick read, not very detailed, but offers some really interesting insights into how things could work.  Then a good introduction to Lean text (“Lean Thinking” by J.P. Womack or “Lean Transformations”, by B.A. Henderson, there are several others).  You may be suprised where the main process issues are and how to address them, but remember that it’s not always just production.

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    #184658

    Severino
    Participant

    The only thing I could see being an issue is if the process is somehow dependant upon when the books close (i.e. your AP doesn’t send payments till the end of the month).

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    #184659

    Adam L Bowden
    Participant

    Cut out the waste first then possibly look at the contracts – can you
    spread out the statement printing, go 100% on-line or e-mail ?Adam

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    #184678

    m4cot
    Participant

    All, thanks for the replies…
    So far I have concentrated on timings… I have developed a travel sheet now which I will use as part of the pilot which will not only capture new timings… but also strat-factors to be later analysed for variation… such as, amounts, supplier, internal/external defects, route taken, staff member etc..
    Im interested to learn about which cases flow quicker than others and more importanly..why?! this way I can look at the upfront end to end process to see if changes can be made to ensure that all future statements are ‘quick’…
    There is some evidence of watse… ie, searching for files, motion, waiting between steps and searching thought the bank statements when trying to reconcile.. therefore im looking for ways to reduce these areas… for example, they currently print the bank statements…and search through looking for the relevant amount to reconcile against, im looking at the option of exporting this to excel…at least then we can use the search function reducing time taken….
    Also due to the backlog, many important controls have been overlooked.. i.e checking the fee’s are what were agreed!!!! this has to be a huge focus for the new design!
    Any more thoughts would be a big help
    Cheers

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    #184708

    m4cot
    Participant

    Any more comments?

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    #184743

    Diorio
    Member

    Hi,
    Do you have access to any simulation software like ProModel or ARENA?  This software will enable you to look at the process and determine where the bottlenecks are.  The drawback is that it is a bit expensive.
    If that is not an option, I would dive into Lean methodologies and establish a value stream map for your process.  This will give you huge bang for the buck and can all be done with pencil and paper and Excel if you want to automate some of the calculations.
    Regards,Rich
     
     
     

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    #184745

    Cinnamond
    Participant

    Just going back to the original posting and question…   One piece flow is definitely not always the answer.   It seems that this is actually somewhat of a misnomer (or maybe it’s a theoretical perfect state?) and causes confusion in some companies.   For example how could a metal stamper implement one piece flow?   The best approach to take with regards to that specific subject is to find the best economical quantity to process through the system.   This will depend on the different steps in the process, the set up complexities at the different steps, the equipment capacities at each step, the rate at which customers order things, etc.   A good approach to take is to map out the process as suggested by others, looking at each step to see what the smallest BEQ would be.   We also have to remember that the less efficient some of the process steps are, the larger this BEQ is going to be.   For example if a set up process takes 6 hours this may force the use of a larger BEQ.   Since the goal is to reduce the BEQ, some set up times may need to be reduced.  It reads like you are already well on your way.

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    #184755

    m4cot
    Participant

    Thanks for replies.
    I have not access to the software programs that you have mentioned so i have been doin all within excel. The process map was the first step for me completed a few weeks ago. I did a detailed swimlane showing all possible routes that work could take etc which helped me understand things a lot.
    As for set ups, the only real set up required for the process is getting things scanned onto the system so for this stage i am trying different approaches… ie, I started the pilot in this way: 100 in, scan the lot, process one piece at a time. now today Im trying scanning 10 as a batch, processing the 10 one at a time, then setting up the next 10 and processing them at a time… to see the impact on the timings etc.
    Thanks again

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