As a manufacturer, you know one of the primary concerns of your customers will always be price. You also know that “price” is not as simple as it may seem -- within price lays productivity rates, efficiency, organization, and other in-house considerations. Finding a way to reign all these factors in can be challenge -- but it doesn’t have to be, thanks to VAVE engineering and cell manufacturing.
Cell manufacturing is a method based on VAVE (value analysis & value engineering) concepts. It’s all about finding the most efficient way of organizing your shop floor to ensure increased quality and production throughout all aspects of the manufacturing process.
Most importantly, cell manufacturing helps companies retain market share and sustain profitability. Here’s how:
VAVE Engineering: How Cell Manufacturing Works
In sheet metal fabrication, cell manufacturing works by arranging work stations, equipment, and necessary workers in a sequence that supports a logical and smooth movement of the materials through the production process.
The ultimate goal is not to move multiple parts through multiple stations at the same time, but instead move one part at a time based on customer need. Though it might seem like this would make the process take longer, it’s actually more efficient because each part is singularly focused on and thus moves more quickly through each cell.
The benefits are attractive to manufacturers and customers alike, and can be seen almost immediately after implementation:
1. Material Handling
The material handling benefits of cell manufacturing include:
- Fewer moves between stations
- Fewer moves between departments
- Shorter travel distance to grab materials & parts
- Simple route structures
- Less time spent coordinating material movement
Not only does this simplify the movement of materials as it improves clarity for workers at all stations, it also reduces the requirement for extensive, heavy machinery like fork trucks or automated guided vehicles to move materials and parts around the floor.
It’s been reported that cell manufacturing can reduce handling frequency and cost by 90% -- savings that any sheet metal fabricator worth its salt will pass on to you.
The more that can be completed within a cell, the higher your parts’ quality will be. In a traditional, functional layout, the operations and stations are all scattered, which leaves room for elements of the process to slip through the cracks.
Additionally, there is a mental divide between departments, which can lead to a lack of communication. When all workers are working toward the same goal, there is no communication gap -- decreasing the odds of a mistake during production.
The efficiency of this VAVE engineering method enables advanced ordering, which ultimately saves the customer money. When a customer calls, they are able to communicate what their order volume will be for years in advance. The manufacturer can then buy the raw material in bulk, lowering the final price for the customer.
Thanks to Blackstone’s 275,000 sq. ft. of space, customers can store their parts and materials on-site -- making it easier than ever to accomplish repeat orders. Due to the space saved by cell manufacturing in comparison with functional manufacturing, our work cells are built to accommodate complex, heavy weldments just as efficiently as any other part.
It Works -- Over and Over Again
Does VAVE engineering sound like a process you wouldn’t mind taking part in over and over again? We don’t blame you! Give us a call -- one of our engineering experts will walk you through how cell manufacturing can help you.