South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP) CASE STUDY: Faiveley Transport utilizes Kanban system to improve processes and material flow with help from SCMEP
Faiveley Transport, founded in 1919 in Saint-Ouen, France, is a manufacturer of high-tech components for rail vehicles. The company has global product lines in four key areas: braking and safety equipment, passenger access systems, passenger comfort systems, and rail customer services.
In 2008, Faiveley Transport acquired Ellcon National in Greenville, South Carolina, and used their historical expertise in freight rail products to form a successful joint venture with Amsted Rail, the world’s leading supplier of freight car underframe components. This joint venture, Amsted Rail Faiveley, supplies railcar manufacturers, globally-recognized railroads, and railway maintenance experts with a South-Carolina-based comprehensive value chain for highly-engineered railcar components: design, manufacturing, distribution, and service. Faiveley Transport’s Greenville location currently has 250 employees.
Amsted Rail Faiveley was looking for a way to improve processes and material flow while also building teamwork within the 90-year-old organization. Because the efficient flow of product and material ultimately equates to dollars, they wanted a way to deep dive into the current system and identify potential improvements. Amsted Rail Faiveley looked to SCMEP to facilitate a solution.
After analyzing the company’s needs, the SCMEP lead a five-day workshop on internal Kanban. The workshop included classroom training on the fundamentals of Kanban as well as “go and do” implementation training on internally-machined products. During day one, classroom training gave participants the background and understanding of Kanban tools. The group was then led through an exercise to highlight and understand current Kanban activity at Faiveley.
The goal was to identify what was working within the current system and what was not. This built the foundation for the next step in the project, designing what the internal Kanban system should be. The team then focused on identifying required actions to achieve the Future State. The final day of training included preparing a presentation for Faiveley Senior Leadership which displayed learnings, accomplishments, future tasks, and expected outcomes.
The training was very successful. Improved material management has led to product line On-Time Delivery improvement in the last three months that exceeds the customer requirement of 95%. An additional benefit that Amsted Rail Faiveley experienced was team building within different disciplines, as purchasing, supply chain, and manufacturing personnel worked together to improve the Kanban system. They also developed improved processes and material flow through their Machine Shop and Assembly areas. Time has been saved due to workforce being versatile and cross-trained.
The Kanban system now allows Amsted Rail Faiveley to produce products based only on customer demand. Amsted Rail Faiveley exceeded its annual sales plan by 30 percent in the last year, all while improving on-time delivery to customers and sharing a record percentage of profits with its employees. Successful Kanban implementation was a key improvement during a successful year. All employees were retained.
“Our company has utilized SCMEP for many training courses. Every instructor has always been courteous, professional, and very informative. Team members commented on how much they enjoyed the course and how it created a team building atmosphere. It seems SCMEP instructors adapt very well to the different groups of employees we have here at Faiveley,” Roc Martin, Manufacturing Manager.