Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have always played a key role in the economies of all major industrial societies in both Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment levels. In the past, most of the new manufacturing concepts and technologies have been implemented in large scale manufacturing industries. However, SMEs have not received due attention for the implementation of such new manufacturing concepts and technologies with the objective to improve productivity and quality. An attempt has been made in this paper to present some of the experiences of implementing new productivity improvement strategies in a small company. The project has taken place in Valeo, a French company located in the United Kingdom, producing wiper systems for the automotive industry in the UK. The wiper systems include containers, pumps, jets and hoses. This company produces a high variety of low volume parts for varied customers in a job shop environment. The objectives of the project are to improve productivity in two cells of the company, one assembling jets with hoses and the other assembling jets and hoses with other devices for head lamp cleaning systems. In this paper, experiences with the implementation of various productivity improvement strategies are presented. The implementation concerns three aspects: the improvement of the tool used on a station, namely, the wet-set station; the implementation of a Kanban system between a hose-cutting machine, and jet and hoses assembly stations; and the development of an autonomous cell. A performance analysis and some recommendations conclude the paper.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Management of Technology and Innovation