Shinshiro. Built as the world’s largest high-speed steel and tungsten-carbide endmill plant, then reconfigured to manufacture only high-speed steel products: endmills, drills, and specialist cutters used in precision and heavy engineering. Make-to-stock/make-to-order, 5,000 different stock units, 370 staff and 800 machine tools, 2.5 hectares of floor space – 1/4 of the factory shown above.
Initial state in July 2001, the dot.com bust-up in the US really hit our sales. Orders for the plant dropped 30% over the next few months. Given this situation we didn’t aim to improve throughput but decided instead to take advantage and reduce lead-time. This was an entire factory implementation.
Output was held constant while work-in-process was reduced by 49% in the first 8 weeks. Overall lead time reduced from 6.6 weeks to 2.8 weeks over the same period. Work-in-process was further reduced to 1/3 of initial by 12 weeks: down from 600,000 pieces to 200,000.
To reduce work-in-process by that order in such a short period is a hugely significant result in Japan and was reported nationally by the public television network (NHK) and in the business press (Nikkei Business Magazine, Diamond Business Magazine) generating considerable interest.
This firm had “grown-up” down the road from Toyota (about 60kms away), but had resisted all overtures to use just-in-time from Toyota. In 3 months, we were able to achieve what had been resisted for more than 30 years.
This is a project made by Dr. Kelvyn himself