Supported by Möbius, Barco has been able to improve significantly quality, output and productivity in its different plants by a focused project approach.
Barco traditionally serves the high-end market but wants to expand to the mid-market segment. This requires a significant improvement in the level of operational excellence.
Barco wants to capitalize on the increasing global demand for digital cinema projectors, which was boosted by the launch of several very successful 3D films. To support this growth, Barco needs to improve the flow in its digital cinema production. This requires a reduction of the throughput time, quality issues and an increase in direct labour efficiency.
The project, codename “Flow”, is the pilot for a global improvement of the operational excellence.
Lean and total quality management as driving forces
Techniques from total quality management were used to identify root causes for production hiccups. Production was stabilized by working on component quality, component supply, … . In a second phase, lean principles were used to further streamline the production process.
Increasing production output
Less hiccups and an improved flow increase the production efficiency and output. Aligning the various production phases, the introduction of “supermarkets” and “kanbans”, a smaller production line for special projectors, … all helped to further increase production output.
Increasing the production levels was combined with the introduction of newer versions of the projector technology. This further increased pressure. A combination of training, coaching and organizational changes, allowed overcoming the initial resistance. Changes in processes and working methods were accepted and finally embraced.
Shoulder to shoulder
Möbius cooperated closely with the internal Barco consultants and the line management. From an office close to the shop floor, analyses and ideas were promptly discussed, tested and put into practice.
- Year-on-year, the production output was doubled, production time halved, simultaneously with the introduction of a new projector version.
- First pass yield doubled in six months.
- Learning curves for new models were reduced to a quarter of the time.
- The project won the prestigious PICS-VIB Supply Chain award.
Extended collaboration: the “Gemba” project
- In the “Gemba” project, that followed the “Flow” project, the operators were put at the heart of a continuous “stream” of improvements.
- Shoulder to shoulder, Barco and Möbius have trained a global group of “lean coaches”. They were provided with the tools and processes to inspire the operators and to capture, judge and implement their ideas.
- In the first year, this “Gemba” project has triggered over 4.000 improvement ideas of which more than 70% was implemented. It has led to significant savings and propelled Barco on its journey towards operational excellence.