AmFor Electronics, Inc. was founded in 1961 as Northwest Regulator Supply and offers small, medium and large custom cable and wire harnesses. AmFor services its customers in the automotive, transportation equipment, military/aerospace, construction equipment, agriculture equipment and commercial product industries. They also provide turnkey manufacturing services. AmFor currently employs 43 skilled workers and attains over 6 million in annual sales.
AmFor sought OMEP’s assistance to implement lean practices that supported and stabilized their large harness line, with improvements to other lines being a second priority. AMFor’s goal was to increase flow and to reduce backlog. Overall, AMFor sought to improve their output and increase capacity.
OMEP partnered with AmFor to improve operations and implement a system designed for flow. AmFor applied a PDCA, data-driven, systematic approach to increase output in the large harness area. They worked with their existing team to promote from within, creating a leadership group who created a visual pull system. AmFor created one- piece flow lines for the large harness, implementing a layout that supported the flow from beginning to end (cutting wire to shipping.)
Additionally, AMFor worked with OMEP to establish daily stand up meetings. In these meetings, their team covers production needs for not just the harness line, but all production at AmFor. After reviewing plan/actual, staffing, daily shipments, and delivery, the team discusses any opportunities for improvement. Visual Boards allow the 15-minute meetings to be successful and empower them to make important business decisions quickly.
From cut/crimp at the beginning of the large harness process to the end, AmFor established Visuals Kanbans for all lines. This simplified their process and reduced switching orders (hot orders) in production. The schedule was taken from the daily standup to the start of the process and then completed on a pull system created from the end of the process.
Gemba walks incorporating leadership and various departments ensure everyone understands the process, flow, and visuals controls. Finally, AmFor created visual tool boards for commonly used tools and a visual tag system for shared tools with color-coded indicators, as well as a replenishment system for cleaning supplies.
These changes have given AmFor the ability to better utilize large harness process to share labor and improve scheduling for the harness based on difficultly to meet takt.
The new line improvements resulted in $243,000 of savings due to reduced material and labor waste. They also reduced re-work by $50,000 in addition to improved cross training and proficiency of employees. In turn, their productivity improved by 30 percent and material costs were reduced by 20 percent.
Since addressing and implementing the tactics mentioned above AmFor has seen a sales growth of 33 percent. They are continually improving their on-time delivery and have hired 13 new employees to support increased capacity. With a firm grasp on lean enterprise systems, AmFor is poised for continued growth.
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Working with OMEP has been a very educational experience for our employees. They are now able to break down our assembly procedures to essential processes and eliminate duplicate handling and batching.