Lean Manufacturing and Steelcase Essay

Submitted By AniruddhaChavan2
Words: 2783
Pages: 12

Steelcase Manufacturing Plant
Steelcase is one of the leading developing and manufacturing company of office furniture, interior architecture, and technology products and services for corporate offices. It is a more than a 100 year old company which has seen ups and downs which teach us a lot about operations management. It has a fascinating history about how a small company became a world class manufacturing company with high and low volumes products along with variability in their products.
Operations Performance:
Identify and explain as many tools/metrics as possible that Steelcase uses to measure, control and improve operational performance.
Be sure to explain what "action" results from the tool/metric that leads to control or improvement of the operation.

Steel case used various tools to measure control and improve operational performance, such as:
Poke Yoke: The word means “mistake proofing”. It is a mechanism in a lean manufacturing process that help an equipment operator avoid mistakes. Its purpose is to reduce failures in products and avoid mistakes in manufacturing by bringing it to the notice of the operator. [1]
Steelcase used Poka Yoke focusing on error prevention by improving the ergonomics of the workstation and optimizing the flow of materials in the production line, by standardsing the size of bin (square bins) for flow of materials. This organized the flow of materials in the company.
They use Statistical tools which analyze the process variables, determine process capabilities and monitor effects of the variables.

Control Charts: They indicate upper and lower control limits; if all the data points are in control limits then the process is in control. Steel case have implemented these to measure the output of each shift as against the desired output. They use control charts to measure the production capability.
Steelcase uses control charts to monitor various variables. They help to monitor a process and improve it. Steelcase has displayed control charts for both the shifts indicating where each process stands. They help to compare results and help to plan for future.

X-Matrix: This is a matrix used by Steelcase to improve operations regarding various factors. It is an X shaped matrix that includes goals, strategies, strategic projects (initiatives) and management. It is a quality function deployment tool for linking strategy to execution.
SMART: Steelcase uses SMART for continuous improvement as:
S – Strategy/ scale – Technology deployment. Use of technology for improvement.
M – Margin – By reducing scrap and wastage cost reduction can be done.
A – Agility
R – Reliability – They use quality matrix to improve upon reliability. Their DPPM is at 4- sigma level, which Steelcase is trying to improve to achieve 6-sigma level. Steelcase has SPPM at 5-sigma level and they are improving to achieve 6-sigma level.
T- Trust – It is difficult to measure trust but by completing the customer demands on time and improving quality trust can be built and improved.

Pareto Chart: A Pareto chart is a bar graph. The lengths of the bars represent frequency and are arranged with longest bars to the left and shortest to the right. Thus the chart depicts which factor (frequency) is significant.
Steelcase collects data and uses Pareto Chart to find the important factors which affect various processes and which needs an improvement. They use to improve speed of production by finding factors for these.

Run Chart: Run charts are used as a run sequence plot that displays observed data in a time sequence. The data displayed represent some aspect of the output or performance of a manufacturing or other business process.

Kaizen: Kaizen is continuous improvement process. Steelcase have employed this as a strategy towards lean manufacturing.
Kaizen reduced the waiting time for the drivers. The team analyzed all the steps of the process and reorganized so that the average lead time was reduced without stress on the export…