Lean Manufacturing Andon System

At Hub Labels, the operations team recognized a gap in the employees’ ability to easily signal and receive help while on the production floor. After researching different solutions, the decision was made to invest in the Lean Manufacturing Andon solution. The Andon system provides visual communications on the manufacturing plant floor. This makes it more easy for an employee to alert a manager of an issue that needs attention. The Andon system can indicate line status, show when assistance is needed (e.g. supervisor or maintenance calls), and empower operators to stop a production process for quality issues.

Benefits of the Andon Solution

Cory Martin, manager of the label converting, is excited by the Andon installation. “A label manufacturing facility is a noisy place. Combine the noise with our 110,000 square footage, timely communication of a production issues is critical. At Hub Labels, we have adopted the lean manufacturing approach. We believe that by examining how we do things and by implementing continuous improvement projects, we can work smarter, not harder.”

The new Andon communication tool will solve a number of problems, including

  • Bring immediate attention to problems as they occur in the production process.
  • Provide a simple and consistent mechanism for communicating information on the plant floor.
  • Encourage immediate reaction to quality, down time, and safety problems.
  • Improve accountability of operators by increasing their responsibility for “good” production and empowering them to take action when problems occur.
  • Improve the ability of supervisors to quickly identify and resolve manufacturing issues.

Implementing with Ingenuity

To implement the new system, Hub Labels turned to their maintenance staff and their creative ingenuity. Exterior wood boxes house the Andon units and were painted gray. Maintenance wired the boxes and added switches to each converting machine. Two switches were installed per machine so employees can easily signal for assistance. One switch is on the finishing side. The second switch is on the shipping side during label production.

The end product was a visual communications tool that quickly alerts management to production concerns. The visual lights can be seen anywhere on the converting and shipping floor.