When original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are pursuing lean initiatives, class C components could present a major hurdle in reaching these goals. While these small parts typically only account for about 5 percent of total purchase dollars, they can represent anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of the total production components. Thankfully, there are numerous ways for OEMs to reduce the burden on their operations, allowing them to focus their time and resources on major priorities. From moving inventory off site to condensing orders and outsourcing certain projects, OEMs can worry less about class C components, clearing the path toward leaner manufacturing and supply chain management practices.
Establishing a vendor managed inventory (VMI)
Maintaining large inventories on-site consumes valuable space and resources that could otherwise be dedicated to the production process and lean manufacturing efforts. A vendor managed inventory (VMI) program can outsource this aspect of supply chain management so you are able to redirect your attention to other important tasks. The supplier can be responsible for replenishing your class C components based on your actual usage, so you won't have to spend time sourcing, placing purchase orders, waiting for shipments receiving, and stocking parts in advance of production. The supplier will be able to monitor your actual usage, as well, giving you one less metric to track. Parts are replenished based on your actual usage. This will help OEMs see less production downtime and significantly reduce lead times, in turn bolstering lean efforts and creating a more efficient supply chain.
Employing kitting services
For some OEMs, a significant amount of production time is being dedicated to simply gathering the materials needed to complete a build. This can be especially time consuming when trying to count out the correct amount of class C components, but there are ways to cut down on the time being spent picking from inventory. Kitting services allow OEMs to group items together in predetermined amounts that match builds. Rather than having to collect 10 different items for one stage of production, workers can simply grab a pre-sorted bag or box, knowing the items have already been counted out in accordance with the build list. This reduces the chances of miscounts that can slow production while more items are fetched from the inventory warehouse, letting the build continue uninterrupted so it can be completed on time.
Outsourcing subassembly builds
In some cases, time is lost on tasks that can be outsourced, and class C components can be a big part of this. Take a close look at your production process. Are there any points at which production workers have to step away from the main build to complete subassemblies? These smaller builds can be outsourced to third-party services, where they can be completed and delivered ready to use to an OEM. Not only will this speed up the production process, but it will give employees the ability to more closely focus on their other tasks, improving quality and taking strain off of labor resources.
Switching to standardized parts
Another opportunity to keep things moving efficiently is to do away with any custom or specialized components that may be used in a build. These parts take longer to manufacture and often cost more than standard parts since they must be made to order. Replacing any custom components with standard options can lead to significant cost savings. There may be an up-front cost associated with changing the build to accommodate the new parts, but a bit of number crunching will make it easy to see how quickly you'll be able to recoup that expense.