Continuous improvement and Lean approach in FAIST
Lean is not just an approach used in manufacturing: it is an enterprise philosophy that can encompass production, services and the general management of a company. We consider it a milestone in Faist’s way of operating, and continuously work towards the goal of creating value for our customers.
To this end, we try to eliminate or reduce as much as possible waste and non-essential processes.
At the end of January 2019, we decided to further increase our efforts in the continuous improvement area, teaming up with an external consultant with many years of experience in the development of automotive suppliers, to get a fresh point of view on the way we operate in the broadest spectrum. That was the start of what we call our “Lean Enterprise Project”, which is set to be running for almost a year and focuses on our Controls & Propulsion Systems and Industrial business units’ operations in both Romanian plants, Faist Metalworking and Faist Romania.
The project has been divided in various phases: we began assessing the status quo with a series of audits that led us to prepare a plan with the actions needed. Then we constituted inter-functional teams meant to analyze the improvement possibilities for each topic the audits pointed us to. Our Lean Enterprise Master is helping the teams to concretize the plans they develop together.
One of the topics on which we focused was the layout and flows in our Topoloveni plant, Faist Romania. The project brought us to build a new warehouse, separating the subcomponents and packaging storage from the production lines. These have been further divided, with different areas destined for the production of subcomponents, of final assemblies, and for the quality controls. In this way, we improved the internal flows, and freed up some space for the lines linked to the production of our electric actuators. Another workstream of the project helped us pinpoint the deeper reasons for the unabsorbed costs in our Faist Metalworking plant, thus reducing rework, non-value added activities and bottlenecks.
Having an external consultant assessing us has been helpful in getting a different perspective on the activities we do on a daily basis. That said, the approach of continuous improvement that our company has is still the most important aspect of this project, and the contribution of the Faist’s team involved has proven to be, once again, invaluable.