Lean strategy reduces inventory levels

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Car accessories manufacturer Robert Bosch has been implementing a new ‘lean logistics’ strategy at its alternator production facility – one of the world’s largest – on the outskirts of Cardiff. As a result, Robert Bosch’s Miskin complex is using SSI Schaefer’s new KDR live storage systems and transit containers instead of delivering bulk quantities of goods by forklifts.

Now using stand-alone line-side storage facilities, parts are fed from the main ‘supermarket’ area in containers at regular intervals throughout each day and delivered direct to their exact point of use. As well as eliminating the time and effort spent previously by assembly operatives in searching and looking for relevant items, Bosch’s new lean manufacturing strategy is aimed at reducing inventory levels and lead times, and improving overall efficiency and productivity.

Tasked with implementing new working methods and procedures, John Norris, group engineer at Miskin, says: “The new systems are already on-course to be adopted at other Bosch group facilities. The delivery of parts in boxed, not bulk quantities from suppliers, not only makes everything easier to handle and manage, it also does away with the former dependence on a large central stores area – ultimately releasing space for more productive and profitable purposes. Space-saving and delivering parts to exactly where they are needed in containers has allowed us to greatly reduce the number of forklifts we currently use on this site, thereby further reducing operational costs and greatly enhancing on-site safety.”

The KDR Live storage systems were conceived to fit in with the principle of ‘first in first out’, to provide a trouble free operational sequence on assembly lines. The system is characterised by the quick and easy way it can be adjusted to fit any individual requirement. Variable heights can be selected with the moveable crossbeams and be adjusted to fit the item being handled.

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