The Kaizen Mindset- Implementing Continuous Improvement with Unex
Toyotetsu manufactures metal frame parts for Toyota vehicles. They stamp metal for vehicles like the RAV4 or the Corolla, as well as for Lexus vehicles. Toyotetsu practices a Japanese method called Kaizen, which basically translates to continuous improvement or change for the better. The goal of this method is to involve all employees-from CEOs to order pickers-in the streamlining and improving of processes in order to eliminate waste.
At Toyotetsu, components are stored in boxes and hand totes and are sorted based on their weight and size. This means workers must be able to properly pick and apply parts of varying size without interrupting the flow of their work. After a tote is picked, it is loaded on to a tugger and delivered to the welding area in the plant. Tugging tractors at Toyotetsu work on a 30-minute cycle. This means that pickers must get into the pick zones, identify the parts they need, load those components on the cart, and transport them to the welding area. This process must happen as quickly, safely, and accurately as possible.
When Toyota approached Toyotetsu with a proposition to dramatically increase the number of parts manufactured at the plant, the production control team recognized a significant lack of space for the increased production. This projected growth would greatly limit the space in the tugging zones. The production control team at Toyotetsu needed a complete system that would allow them to save floor space while increasing storage density in order to house the new parts. They also needed a solution that fit their Kaizen mindset. Toyotetsu required a product that would evolve and improve alongside the changing needs of the plant.
Unex provided Toyotetsu with a custom-designed flow rack system that eliminated an entire tugging aisle by greatly increasing storage density, doubling rack lengths, tightening spaces between roller chutes, and seamlessly integrating the new flow rack with Toyotetsu’s existing systems. This solution provided the plant with 10% more floor space and allowed Toyotetsu to implement bi-level storage. This created enough dynamic space for Toyotetsu to accommodate a 30% increase in business.
The flow rack system implemented by Unex provided a designated storage area for every part in the plant. It allowed Toyotetsu to clearly mark products, making it much easier for order pickers to locate the needed part and keep the process moving along smoothly. By eliminating the need for more tugging zones, Unex’s flow rack system decreased the need for tuggers to maneuver down extraneous aisles, which further increased the efficiency of Toyotetsu’s operation.
Ease of use and installation was another feature Toyotetsu required of the new flow rack system. As the production control team evaluates the efficiencies of their operation, the need may arise to rearrange and reconfigure their roller racks in order to maintain their Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement. The flow rack solutions provided by Unex are constructed of portable material and are designed to be easily deconstructed, reconfigured, and reconstructed. Toyotetsu was able to use their own staff to install Unex’s flow rack systems and implement them into Toyotetsu’s operation.
Unex products are perfectly designed for companies that practice the Kaizen mindset. They eliminate overly taxing work by making it easier and safer for order pickers to find and collect the parts they need. Unex systems are implemented workstation by workstation and focus on improving the efficiencies of the individual in order to increase the overall efficiency of the operation. Continual implementation of Unex products in order to produce small increases yields large results for the companies that utilize them. If you or your company subscribes to the Kaizen mindset, then using Unex solutions to implement this philosophy is a no-brainer.