At Hub Labels, the production management team recognized a gap in the employees’ ability to easily signal and receive help while on the production floor. After doing some research into different types of equipment, the decision was made to invest in the Lean Manufacturing Andon solution. In manufacturing, Andon systems provide visual feedback to the plant floor, making it more easy for an employee to alert management of an issue that needs attention. Andon systems indicate line status, show when assistance is needed (e.g. supervisor or maintenance calls), and empower operators to stop the production process for quality issues.
This new communication tool will:
• 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.
After deciding to move forward with the Andon system, the next step was to figure out how to create and implement it at Hub Labels. The exterior boxes were built out of wood and painted gray. Maintenance handled all of the mechanical wiring within the boxes and added the switches to each converting machine. Two switches were installed per machine so employees can easily signal if they need assistance from the Finishing side or the Shipping side during label production.
The end product was a visual system that quickly alerted management to employee production concerns.