Today I tell you a story of a customer in the AUTOMOTIVE world, and how two apparently similar roads lead to two completely different results.
Here’s the story…
Once upon a time, there was a customer who, having taken an important order, had to produce an AUTOMOTIVE component, to be precise, a BOSCH component with very, very close tolerances.
Already as a premise, considering the sector, tolerances, and final customer you can understand that there are all the right ingredients for a truly adventurous story with twists and choices to deal with. Very challenging!
And here is our protagonist who starts the research to decide in which machines to invest in order to better produce the new order.
After a long and complicated research, given the quantities of the product to be produced, the customer had selected two final solutions to choose from: the first was a Transfer Machine capable of producing the piece in 12.6 seconds or 3 Multicenter Machines each at 38 seconds a piece that in any case would have produced at a rate of 12.6 seconds per piece.
WHICH OF THE TWO WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Like all solutions there are pros and cons. Our protagonist is conflicted, sometimes convinced of the TRANSFER solution, other times of the flexible MULTICENTER machine.
Let’s see with the TRANSFER solution what happens:
- ONE MACHINE PRODUCES THE REQUESTED QUANTITY
- MINOR OCCUPIED SPACE
- MACHINE COST LESS THAN 3 MULTICENTER MACHINE
- DELIVERY TIME 11 MONTHS
- MANAGEMENT OF REDUNDANT OR REPLACEMENT TOOLING NOT FEASIBLE
- IMMEDIATE MONEY OUTLAY OF INVESTMENT
- UNDER-UTILISATION OF THE MACHINE FOR THE FIRST 3 YEARS (RAMP UP)
- WHEN THE MACHINE STOPS, ALL PRODUCTION IS STOPPED
- RIGIDITY IN THE CYCLE CHANGE
- DEDICATED AND SCARCELY RECONFIGURABLE MACHINE
AND NOW LET’S SEE THE MULTICENTER …
- 4 MONTHS DELIVERY TIME.
- REDUNDANT OR REPLACEMENT TOOL MANAGEMENT FROM TOOL MAGAZINE
- PROGRESSIVE PURCHASE OF MACHINES ACCORDING TO RAMP UP
- IF YOU STOP A MACHINE, THE OTHER MACHINES PRODUCE
- FLEXIBILITY IN THE CYCLE CHANGE
- EASILY RECONFIGURABLE MACHINE
- LOWER INVESTMENT RISK
- 3 MACHINES TO MANAGE RATHER THAN A SINGLE ONE
- GREATER OCCUPIED SPACE
- HIGHER FINAL INVESTMENT (COST FOR 3 MACHINES)
As we said before, both solutions have advantages and disadvantages, now I will continue to tell you this story. You will find unexpected twists that could happen to you too.
Luckily for me, the protagonist of this story (the customer) chose the MULTICENTER solution for the following 4 reasons:
- DELIVERY 4 MONTHS SINCE IT IS A STANDARD MACHINE
- MONEY OUTLAY FOR A SINGLE MULTICENTER CONSIDERING THE RAMP UP
- REDUNDANT TOOL MANAGEMENT FOR UNMANNED THIRD SHIFT
- FLEXIBLE MACHINE TO BE EASILY RECONFIGURED IN THE FUTURE OR IN CASE OF UNEXPECTED EMERGENCY
As you can see the 4 points mentioned above could not be satisfied with a TRANSFER machine, being a special machine and built on order on average 11 months. The investment had to be dealt right away by paying out all the money against a ramp up that would come full steam only after 3 years.
The management of all the redundant tools would not have allowed an effective third unmanned shift, the TRANSFER machine would have stopped to wait for an operator to replace the worn tool, while the MULTICENTER would do it all by itself.
Last very important point, our protagonist feels much safer to invest in a flexible machine, feels more protected in case of interruption of the contract by his customer, and even less blackmailable by his customer, being able to easily reconfigure the machine for another job.
THE SOLUTION IS IN THE FLEXIBILITY …
Now the story goes on and seems to be going to end, but there is still an important twist that our protagonist does not expect at all ..
The MULTICENTER is delivered after 4 months and starts producing the piece at a rate of 38 seconds as per contract and for the first year and a half the machine can satisfy the quantities that BOSCH requires to our protagonist.
After this period, the customer installs the second MULTICENTER that for an additional year and a half will then take him after 3 years to buy the latest Multicenter.
BUT AFTER 2 YEARS
After 2 years, BOSCH made some modifications to the blank and improved it considerably in order to eliminate some machining due to the excellent quality achieved in the blank production process.
At this point the supplier is asked to eliminate some processes because they are no longer necessary. Now the MULTICENTER without these operations goes from 38 seconds to 25 seconds per piece.
So far nothing strange, less processing, faster cycle time …. the real turning point is when our protagonist realizes that with 25 seconds per machine, with the two installed MULTICENTER is producing at a rate of 12.5 seconds and can already cover all the volume required without buying the third MULTICENTER !!
EXCELLENT NEWS FOR THE CUSTOMER, A LITTLE LESS FOR ME …
NO SALE OF THE THIRD MACHINE.
Return a moment back in history and try to rethink what would have happened if the protagonist had chosen the TRANSFER technology.
First of all, he would have paid everything immediately and not fully taking advantage the TRANSFER machine in the first 3 years because of the RAMP UP. Then, at the news of eliminating some machining, he could have done so, but only by switching off some working units and producing at the same pace without being able to recover any cost because the machine had been built and paid.
THIS IS THE POWER OF THE LEAN ADVANTAGE
THAT THE MULTICENTER OWNS!
Ultimately the choice of MULTICENTER, being a flexible machine, has also made the protagonist flexible to evolving situations, avoiding buying the third machine and investing less than the TRANSFER.
I’m left with only bad taste in my mouth for not having succeeded in placing the third MULTICENTER but still satisfied with the fact that once again this flexible technology repays those who use it with what I call “THE POWER OF THE UNFAIR ADVANTAGE”.
In a market that changes faster and faster, the FLEXIBILITY factor must be taken into account. Although sometimes, apparently, it seems to have no value, as at the beginning of this story, then the twists and turns happen and thanks to the FLEXIBILITY you succeed to manage them in your favor.
YOU HAVE A SIMILAR SITUATION AND WANT TO EXAMINE WHICH ADVANTAGE THE MULTICENTER CAN GIVE YOU?
All you have to do is fill in the form below with your email so that I can contact you to discuss your needs together, to make you quickly more competitive in your field.
If, on the contrary, you have no project in progress, but you are curious and want to deepen your knowledge of this innovative method of production, I suggest you get my book PRODUCTION FLEXIBILITY, with over 200 pages of topics related to this method and direct testimonies of customers who already use the MULTICENTER.
THE FIRST BOOK ON FLEXIBLE PRODUCTION
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Do not wait, you will risk finding yourself stuck in the corner and, in that moment, it will cost you too much effort and it will be more difficult to get out of it. You could even get stuck forever!
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