13 November 2018

After Phoenix 3D Metaal decided to shift its strategic focus to high-end technical sheet metal, rubber pad forming  and repetitive work, the management faced a new challenge. Turnover increased but the logistical flows were difficult to manage. Together with SpartnerS it placed their production logistics on the cutting table.


Outdated production logistics

“The new course led to capacity issues”, says Bernard van der Poel, director of Phoenix. “Our production logistics were based on outdated principles. While the quality requirements of the customers increased and the pressure on the delivery times increased. So we had to catch up.”  Van der Poel wanted to work with QRM (Quick Response Manufacturing) and lean. “We knew something about lean. But our existing knowledge about the applicability and advantages of QRM was very limited. We wanted to know more about these principles and whether they could do something for us. That’s why we engaged SpartnerS.”


Short lead times

Phoenix started the customised QRM project, aimed at eliminating waste, reducing lead time and doing things right first time. The scope concerned the entire organisation of Phoenix 3D Metaal, from customer contact to delivery. Van der Poel: “After the introduction of the consultants to the employees, we put together an improvement team. This enabled us to map the value stream, such as the process steps, the number and type of orders and the departments involved. This method made it clear what exactly were our wastes and what the importance of short lead times is. This gave us a lot more insight than we had anticipated at the start of the project.”

To create support for the changes, the lean game was played. “This simulation game allowed our employees to experience a different way of working. A great way to experience QRM and lean principles.”


Ideal picture

By letting go of the limitations of the current situation, the improvement team could draw up a value stream (WSA) of the ideal situation. Van der Poel: “It’s good to think outside of the box. That’s when you arrive at real improvements. In a number of sessions we compared the value streams of the current and future situation. That way we got a good idea of what we wanted to improve.”

The result of the WSA was a practical action plan with subprojects, with a time schedule and responsibilities. “Especially regarding logistics and planning we had a good list of improvements such as combining and separating tasks, unambiguous ”ownership”, minimising number of transfer moments and smaller batch sizes. But also visual work delivery, workplace design, routing and internal transport. Organisationally we decided to split the company into two branches: Engineering and Repeat.”

The progress of the implementation process was closely monitored, using periodic feedback moments. Van der Poel: “SpartnerS acted as process guard and sparring partner.”


Calmer environment

The improvements were quickly apparent. Van der Poel: “Our inventory of work in progress fell by as much as fifty percent. The failure costs went down and delivery reliability increased. The result was a calmer production, less interruptions and rushes. And satisfed customers!”

Looking back, Van der Poel observes that he relied on improvement, but didn’t actually envisage a specific situation. “That clarity only arose during the description of the desired situation.” He looks back with satisfaction on his collaberation with SpartnerS. “SpartnerS is a practice-conscious team, honest and direct. They only apply the theory where necessary. As a result, the theory that matters comes across better. Sometimes they are confrontational, but always with respect and a smile! I find it inspiring to work with them.”


The challenges of Phoenix 3D Metaal

  • Hard to manage logistical flows
  • Moderate delivery reliability
  • High stocks


The results for Phoenix 3D Metaal

  • Decrease of inventory of work in progress by 50-60%
  • High delivery reliability
  • Lower failure costs
  • Satisfied customers
  • Calmer production, fewer interruptions and rushes


Source: SpartnerS organisational advice