Huge gains in terms of quality and productivity at Electrolux
It was little short of a quantum leap when Electrolux introduced LEAN thinking and TAKT production methods and implemented software-based TAKT production by means of REEFTvisual.
In 2007 Electrolux took a decision – and a gamble: Introducing LEAN and a TAKT system in their production as part of a modernisation of the installation line at their factory in Ljungby, Sweden. The gamble involved a web-based, online solution to check the takt on the entire production line.
“We’d never heard of takt systems before. REEFT introduced us to an entirely new approach: the development of a software-based takt production. It was groundbreaking, but it took us less than a day to decide that it was the right solution,” says Rikard Karlsson, Technical Manager at Electrolux.
Web-based production management
The combination of LEAN and software-based takt production turned out to be the right choice: Ten years on, work in progress and lead time have been reduced by more than two-thirds, to mention just a couple of the specific gains.
“REEFTvisual is web-based and runs via a web browser. We’ve got a software-based production plant which completely supports our changing demands and requests,” says Rikard Karlsson and explains, “Before, we’d have to check each individual machine to make any necessary adjustments. REEFTvisual is innovative and flexible – now we can add new buttons and functions directly on the screen, check and adjust the takt and start and stop each production line.”
Productivity up by 20%
In Rikard Karlsson’s experience, quality drives productivity; in other words, if quality is improved, so is productivity.
“One of the biggest advantages that Electrolux has gained with REEFTvisual is the fact that quality and productivity have been improved at the same time. Our productivity has risen by a fifth, and quality is nearly twice as good,” says Rikard Karlsson and adds, “Now, we’ve got a grip on quality and productivity. And it’s much easier to deliver on time, and security of supply is today more than 95%.”
Product quality nearly twice as good
Since the introduction of REEFTvisual and takt-based production, quality is more or less twice as good.
“We’ve seen quite a few improvements in the production. In particular, we have increased quality in connection with installation. With REEFTvisual, our service engineers can see a bill of material on their screen for the installation they are working on as well as photos and drawings with installation instructions. If there’s a problem with an installation, we can quickly adjust the instructions and remedy the problem. Our quality losses have been cut in half,” says Rikard Karlsson.
Gains throughout the Electrolux supply chain
The improvements in quality and productivity stretch backwards in Electrolux’ supply chain to include their stock of raw materials.
“The stock of raw material at the assembly line has been reduced by one third. This was only possible because quality improvements were introduced all the way from the production line to the raw material warehouse in one long, unbroken chain. This way we can act on a quality flaw that may already have arisen in connection with item picking, but which will not be visible until the item reaches the assembly line,” says Rikard Karlsson.
Accuracy and consistency in production data
Electrolux has chosen to integrate REEFTvisual with their ERP-system, an older legacy solution based on AS/400 iSeries.
“There’re several advantages of integrating REEFTvisual with our ERP-system. We only have to enter data once, and with one set of master data, we increase the quality of our data. We can extract information from the ERP system and production. The bill of material that appears on the service engineer’s screen, for instance, has been extracted directly from the ERP system,” Rikard Karlsson explains.