Measuring Best Practice Part of the Pcdata USA Value Proposition
There is a common value proposition between Pcdata USA and clients like Miller Ingenuity. Pcdata USA offers unique solutions for distribution centers facing rapid SKU velocity. The hybrid Pick to Light is based on SKU velocity. When SKU is properly analyzed Pcdata USA’s Pick to Light (PTL) is a tool that is often overlooked in the search for warehouse technology and can be over 30% more effective than rival order pick methods. In high density unit picking environments for example, PTL is by far the most efficient picking solution available, eliminating walking time and producing the most intensive picking environment possible. In a standard warehouse environment it is typical that 20% of the products represent 80% of the revenues, work and costs. In such a typical 80/20 environment companies can achieve 80% of savings by investing only 20% of the total costs. These data are persuasive, meaningful, and lean.
Miller Ingenuity is a railway component solutions company, based in Winona, MN. Founded more than sixty years ago, the innovative firm specializes in the ability to conceptualize, design, produce, and deliver railroad parts that meet the current and emerging needs of the industry. In the 1950’s Miller Ingenuity founder, “Rudy” Miller, invented the wick lubricator and ever since has demonstrated the ability to conceptualize, design, produce and deliver railroad parts that meet the current and emerging needs of the industry. Product development is in the firm’s DNA.
The company paced the industry as the original inventor and manufacturer of traction motor lubricators and gear case seals for all domestic locomotives manufacturers past and present. Growth continues by expanding product offerings and developing increased capability to manufacture tough wear parts, including pedestal liners, wear plates and center pin bushings for locomotive and railcar trucks or bogies. Truck parts kits introduced new levels of flexibility, ease of use, and completeness.
Growth produces challenges and the search for solutions
One of the challenges the company faced was the fluency and accuracy of picking items. Jesse Smith, Safety and Manufacturing Manager, noted that for some time the company was picking from a paper picking list. It was very labor intense to search for a part and make sure the part number matched the actual part to be picked. Another challenge was adding new parts to the picking line. The company tried to add parts to the picking line numerically but then adding a new part introduced new problems.
Lean manufacturing means eliminating waste. Lean Manufacturing is a guiding principle at Miller Ingenuity throughout the operation. Creating greater value for customers, while minimizing the expenditure of resources, is a bestpractice policy.
When faced with a challenge or motivated by a new solution, self-directed factory teams accept full responsibility to meet customers’ needs—large and small—in the most inventive and efficient ways possible. From the team’s early morning “Toolbox” meeting where they organize their tasks for the day, to brainstorming, or to producing the highest quality parts, the lean team is driven to ride to the rescue—solving customer problems and improving internal processes along the way.