Increasing operating efficiency with synchronized continuous flow

As a result of Piikkio Works cabin factory, Carinafour’s customer site, changing its assembly line to operate according to the principles of one-piece flow, the production logistics has also experienced a transformation. During the winter, the logistics have been rearranged as a one-piece flow in order to be synchronous with the operations of the assembly line, generating operating efficiencies to both of the processes.

With the newly organised one-piece flow logistics, the materials are gathered to picking train wagons and the quantities of the materials have been synchronised with the set takt time of the assembly line. All of the quantities and delivery times in each wagon are known which assists the logistics employees in knowing what the assembly line employees need at different times and subsequently reduce the need to go back and forth to collect materials. Changing the logistics process has also resulted in increasing the number of the picked materials; before, the materials that were directly taken to the assembly line with a forklift truck are now also loaded to the picking train wagons with the rest of the materials, consequently reducing the forklift truck traffic inside the assembly hall.

c4 signal system

The one-piece flow logistics is supported by the C4 Signal System which allows pickers to know what is supposed to be collected and in what order while at the same time everyone around can also see clearly what is being collected, in what quantities, and where the materials are going. By analysing the C4 Signal System’s logistics data, it is possible to balance and measure the effectiveness of picking. While using the picking trains with the support of the C4 Signal System, we can ensure on a daily basis that the right materials and quantities are accessible at the assembly line.

─For example, with the newly organised logistics, the removing of material packaging has been transferred from the assembly line to be the task of the logistics, making it possible for the assembly line employees to focus on value-generating activities, explains Sami Haaja, the Head of Carinafour’s Production Development.

The process logistics of the Piikkio Works cabin factory and the C4 Signal System supporting it are closely connected to Carinafour’s floor management (C4 floor management), which ensures quality, continuous process improvement, flow of information and cleanliness at the customer site. The renewed logistics model also supports the implementation of the 5S principles in the assembly hall; for instance, the assembly lines remain tidier when no extra packaging material longer exists.

─The next step is for Piikkio Works to connect also their material suppliers to the same synchronized one-piece flow, adds Haaja.

With the help of increased transparency in material deliveries, the ability to react to rapid changes, for example in the event of design changes would increase. Subsequently, this would help the cabin factory and the suppliers when less material that is no longer needed would be made and delivered. Furthermore, with increased transparency, it would also be possible to see if the amount of materials to be delivered is correct in order to anticipate situations in which a risk of late delivery of the material exists. Thus, synchronizing also the material suppliers to the one-piece flow would improve the functioning of different parts of the marine industry ecosystem.

Piikkio Works Oy manufactures tailor-made modular cabins and turnkey deliveries of entire cabin areas for cruise and passenger ships. Carinafour has been delivering development and operating services to Piikkio Works since 2013.