Daktronics Case Study Operations Management

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It is important when discussing the implementation of lean tools to consider how to increase the probability of a successful conversion to a lean system. The effec-tiveness of a lean system strongly depends on this factor. Following the discussion in “Operations Management” by William Stevenson, there are seven elements which should be adopted in a carefully planned conversion. The following para-graph discusses whether Daktronics included this elements, the level of Daktron-ics performance is rated and what obstacles were handled.
(1) Involvement of management and top management:
To enhance the success of a lean conversion, top management should be involved intensively and aware of the costs and time for the conversion. It is also important
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This team consists of a lean manager, two lean manufacturing engineers and lean coordinators for the different production sites. Kurtenbach decided to hire three consulting firms. They had knowledge about how to implement lean projects: “converting the production of the LED modules from batch and queue to a flow production”. All major requirements were satisfied, however, they hired Pragmatek to help with the methodology and details of the project. The other two consulting firms stepped in for the lean con-cepts: “A3-thinking and coaching” and “making materials flow”. Due to the out-sourcing to consulting firms, this can be considered as a decrease in top manage-ment involvement. However, it also means top management provides enough re-sources for their lean conversion.
When Daktronics started their lean implementation for the LED assembly, the lean team met three times a week. This shows the seriousness of the project and the involvement of the entire lean team. Jeff Pekas, Electronics Assembly Plant Man-ager, mentioned it was hard to start the conversion, since there were immense amounts of inefficiencies and waste. Heavy discussions were often needed to eventually take action. In conclusion, involvement of top management and re-source allocation were present in Daktronics’
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Daktronics tried to get rid of this waste. The company had to find a more efficient way to transfer the products between the stations. After several meetings and discussions, they decided to use gravity as an energy source for transportation. The gravity conveyors were used at key locations, where they installed automated release systems. Components were now transported more efficiently and could enter the next station at a timed pace. In addition, the reduction of the setup times while maintaining the current system was essential. Daktronics had issues concerning kit preparation: when a work or-der does not clear kit preparation because of missing parts, this results in down-time on the line. This eventually resulted in idled employees and tear-downs of setups. Therefore, the 5S technique was used to reorganize the work tools, clean tables with WIP and clean the work floor. Daktronics identified their problems and provided satisfying solutions for them. The numbers prove their success in this area.
(5)Gradual conversion of operations
When changing to a lean system, it is important to not accelerate the process. The company should start at the end of the process and work backwards to find the root cause. For example, reducing inventory should be done after major manufac-turing problems have been resolved. Problems are often exposed after reducing inventory level. If there are many quality issues in your products, a higher invento-ry
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