ATP Improves Customer Service and Productivity through Lean Transformation
Company Profile: Advanced Test Products, Inc., formerly known as TIF Instruments, Inc., is a leading provider of test instruments used in the air conditioning, refrigeration, electrical and automotive industries. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, ATP employs approximately 250 people and has annual sales of more than $ 45 million. ATP’s mission is to provide its customers with quality advanced testing products coupled with the highest degree of service and support.
Situation: ATP recognized that in order to sustain its success as a pioneer in the industry and remain competitive on the global markets, they must continually seek ways to maintain customer loyalty and provide the highest quality products at a competitive cost. In conjunction with the company’s continuous improvement objectives, ATP made a decision to transform itself into a Lean company in order to reduce inventory, increase quality and productivity, and improve service to its customers.
Solution: As a first step in the process, the consulting team worked with ATP’s management team in introducing the principles of Lean Transformation to the employees. Lean Fundamentals workshops were presented in both English and Spanish thereby providing all team members with the knowledge and necessary tools to advance to the next stage of Lean transformation.
At the initial stages of the process, the production floor was changed into work cells and workstations were redesigned to eliminate motion waste and be more conducive to a flow process. With the Consultant team’s input, the ATP team then set-up a Kanban replenishment system between the raw materials warehouse and the production floor for all product lines, virtually eliminating all kitting and substantially reducing parts counting. Through a series of classroom training sessions and Kaizen events, Consultants worked with the ATP team in introducing new Lean Transformation techniques such as Value Stream Mapping, 5S’s and Set-up Reduction. These techniques, including creating a “one piece flow” balanced work cell and fine tuning of the Kanban material replenishment, were applied to their Refrigerant Weight Scales line, addressing virtually the entire material and product flow. This enabled the ATP team to have a complete product line on the new system (from warehouse to finished goods) and fully test the concepts.
Results: The lean techniques implemented either on a plant wide basis or being tested on specific product lines have yielded astounding results:
- Work in process was reduced from two to four weeks to one to two days
- Response time to customer orders was reduced from two weeks to one day
- Labor efficiency increased by 15%
- Finished goods inventory was reduced from one month to one week
- Line set up time was reduced from two hours to ten minutes;
Testimonial: “Implementing Lean is a continuous process requiring long term commitment, a willingness to think out of the box as well as a “just do it” attitude. To make it happen, you have to provide not only the vision and direction necessary but also the tools needed to accomplish the task. Gil Lugo, Project Manager with the consulting team, provided us not only with the necessary tools and techniques but also helped ATP’s management to translate its vision and direction to the rest of the employees. Their “just do it” attitude fit in well with our approach and helped spread the sense of urgency to the employee population.”
Cornel Opris, Vice President Operations, Advanced Test Products, Inc.