University of Twente Student Theses


Kuhn production system: supplying material to the shop floor in an efficient way

Doeschate, B.J.A. (2010) Kuhn production system: supplying material to the shop floor in an efficient way.

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Abstract:In 2009 we, students of the University of Twente, started our thesis at Kuhn. Kuhn is part of the Bucher-Guyer group and manufactures a wide-range of specialized agricultural machinery. These machines are produced worldwide at eight facilities and distributed all over the world through a widely spread distribution channel. The mission of the organization is to design and manufacture specialized, innovative and high-quality products for agricultural use (1). With it all actions aim to provide the customer with superior service, maximum return on investment (ROI) and optimal long-term value. To achieve this mission the organization strives for a continuous development. This development is supported by all available values and contributed to the success and growth of the Kuhn brand over the last 181 years. Today, Bucher-Guyer describes Kuhn as “the world’s leading manufacturer of specialized agricultural machinery” (2). With it a lot of responsibility and pressure is created. To cope with this and continuously improve the Kuhn brand, Kuhn realized in 2006 project CAP10 and implemented it under the appropriate name “ONE”. Through ONE Kuhn wants to unite all business units and make them work together to foster partnerships with both customers and suppliers (1). On top of that through their adherence to ONE each facility promises to involve employees, measure progress, develop synergies throughout the organization and continuously improve the performance. Continuous improvement (CI) of the performances can be found throughout the organization. To structure these improvements and develop synergy throughout the organization, Kuhn implemented the strategic initiative "Kuhn Production System” (KPS) into ONE. KPS establishes a set of common manufacturing practices in order to achieve a world class manufacturing organization. One of these practices is supply management of which currently two pilots, at Kuhn Monswiller (MGM) and Kuhn Audureau (KAU), take place. Both these models focus on supplying material to the shop floor in a different way. In order to optimally benefit from the two models Kuhn desires a detailed description, an analysis and a comparison of both models. This followed by rating the models’ performances regarding waste elimination and establishing a list of practical best cases. Through these steps Kuhn aims to achieve their goal, which we stated as: “Kuhn’s goal is to combine theory and best practices to achieve the optimal production environment for their facilities. However each process is different and the required support is not everywhere the same. To cope with this Kuhn has currently divided the KPS into modules so that each site can apply the modules as desired. This resulted for each site in a unique setup that over time diverged even further by CI. Therefore to create structure and learn from each other Kuhn wants to describe the supply flows of both pilot sites and compare them so that the best practices can be incorporated in KPS. With it Kuhn strives for an optimal production environment that can be introduced at new facilities such as Kuhn Geldrop (the Netherlands).” With this report we want to contribute to Kuhn's goals. This by complying to the organization's need for a detail description of the current supply flows, a comparison of these flows and an illustration of their performance. By filling in these three blanks we hope to contribute to Kuhn's strive for perfection and provide them with recommendations that lead to waste elimination and improvement of the current supply flows. Additional to these main goals our secondary objectives - vi - are to provide some background information on both the organization and Lean Manufacturing (LM). The first is to get an understanding of the organization where this research is conducted and their perspective towards the future. The second is to increase the overall knowledge of the reader so that parts of this report can be understood better. To achieve both Kuhn´s and our personal goals we stated six research questions. Through these questions we wanted to structure this research and present the results in an orderly fashion. The first step in this process was to provide the reader with background information on Kuhn and Lean Manufacturing (Research Question 1: What is Lean Manufacturing (LM)?). With this background information we advanced deeper into this topic by researching how Kuhn incorporated Lean in their KPS (Research question 2: What is Kuhn Production System (KPS)?). During this we saw that, like Toyota, Kuhn defines seven waste types. These seven waste types (Muda) are used to measure the performance of a supply flow and can therefore be seen as Kuhn’s seven KPI (Research question 3: What Key Performance Indicators (KPI) does Kuhn distinguish?). By answering this third research question we took our first major step towards satisfying Kuhn’s need of rating the supply flow performances of both pilot sites. However in order to actually rate them, we first had to get familiar with these flows. This was easier said than done, because only parts of the supply flows were documented. To fill in the blanks we visited both sites multiple times and gathered information through observation and communication. By combining this tacit knowledge with the explicit knowledge of the available documentation, we created an elaborate description of how both sites manage and execute their supply flows (Research question 4). With it we aimed to satisfy Kuhn’s need for a full coverage of these supply flows. On top of that with these descriptions we provided ourselves with an additional information source for the comparison and rating. With Kuhn’s first need satisfied we shifted our attention toward fulfilling their second need, namely that of illustrating the main differences between the pilot sites (Research question 5). As desired by Kuhn, we focused on highlighting the main differences on organization and strategical/tactical level. Once this was executed we choose to advance deeper and also provide a comparison on operational level. By doing so we wanted to provide Kuhn with some additional information and illustrate the impact that some processes have on the seven KPI. By answering research questions three, four and five we established the necessary information pool to rate the supply flows’ performances (Research question 6). However before we could actually rate them we still required two elements, namely a score card and rating system. The first of these two elements was easily created, because the scorecard should represent how well each pilot site (KAU and MGM) performs on the KPI. Therefore we set up a seven by two matrix (seven KPI by two pilot sites). Once this score card was created, the only obstacle remaining was the need of a rating system. Due to the seven unique KPI and the differences in the supply flows we choose to develop our own rating system. This rating system is unique and both sites start with the ten-point maximum. From this, points are extracted depending on how well each site performs on the KPI criteria. Apart from using the performance ratings for individual recommendations we also used it to create an overview of the practical best cases. By combining these practical best cases we formed our recommendation to improve the KPS. This is a combination of MGM’s internal order creation (TDM) - vii - and order preparation (three-dimensional retrieval and multiple internal orders per retrieval route) with KAU’s internal order release (half a shift in advance) and methods of delivering internal orders to the shop floor (supply train plus improved carriers such as color-coded bins, picking chariots and rollers).
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Kuhn, France
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Industrial Engineering and Management MSc (60029)
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