Our Client

This first-generation, $12 million Metal Stampings Manufacturer was underperforming and reportedly operating at only 46% – 58% efficiency while serving customers in the automotive OEM and Tier 1 sectors.


The Situation

The Company’s costs were increasing due to delays, defects, and operational downtime. Demonstrated asset efficiency averaged at 32%, which was 14-26 points below the company’s standard performance range. Downtime accounted for 46% of scheduled run time, with a split of almost 50/50 between process elements and mechanical failures. This resulted in a loss of $900,000 in wages and $15 million in lost capacity.

Additionally, changeover efficiency exceeded industry standards by 1.6 times, and press operators were performing various other tasks causing dozens of micro-stops per hour, adding to the problem. Further compounding the problem was a congested plant layout with poor lines of sight and no clear traffic pattern. To meet customer demand, the company had to add another shift.

The Solution

Cascade Partners’ Restructuring Team was hired to conduct a Focused Improvement (FI) event. The main goal was to identify and implement system-wide improvements that could increase manufacturing throughput. The 10-day improvement event was conducted on a 600-ton press (pilot) and involved capturing the current status, identifying areas of erosion, and implementing scalable solutions for improved layout, setup, and run.

Day in the Life Of (DILO) observations were made, and activities were categorized as value add, business value add, and non-value add. The team managed to eliminate Lean Wastes and balance the workload across the resource base. Additionally, we applied 5S to improve layout and flow.

A production ready container management area was established, and an end of line Quick Change 2-Bin Kanban model for part accumulation, container staging, and replenishment was implemented.

The Cascade Advantage

Cascade’s Restructuring Team delivered, helping the company achieve a 26% increase in machine throughput on their 600-ton press. This improvement not only recouped $23,000 in wages and $200,000 in lost capacity but also allowed the company to produce 100% of customer demand while eliminating an unnecessary shift. The team also established a Future State plant layout, that accommodates their highest running product, consolidated “centers of excellence” for manufacturing, quality, tooling, OSP, and inventory activities, has dedicated perimeter aisle with E-W/N-S traffic, and clear line of sight, and incorporates Drop Zones for interior/exterior moves. The scalable improvement plan that recoups $500,000 in wages and $7.6 million in lost capacity due to process-related downtime.