A Product Manger’s View of Rotameter (Variable Area Flow Meter) Lean Manufacturing
We are focusing on improving our order fulfillment process because we know it will result in faster lead times and more satisfied customers. I want to provide a “peek” into our lean manufacturing journey, share my personal experiences and include a photo or two of our rotameter assembly lines.
The improvement process starts by defining in great detail how we do things today. It is difficult to change a process without totally understanding what you are doing today. Once this first step is completed a cross functional team reviews each step of the process and as a group looks for areas of improvement. I have participated in these group sessions and they are very powerful due to the free exchange of ideas. Each suggestion is noted, debated and usually implemented. Possible ideas can be as simple as organizing the workspace which reduces operator movement and “travel time” to adding new test equipment or assembly fixtures.
I have participated in all of our rotameter (variable area flow meter) lean implementations in Hatfield, PA and have witnessed the changes that have improved the processes and reduced lead times. One positive change that I didn’t anticipate was the teamwork impact. Department walls are no longer barriers. When problems arise we quickly have a team huddle to discuss the issue and suggest possible actions which can either be investigated or implemented immediately. Another unexpected benefit I have experienced is I am closer to my workmates because I interact with them daily. Overall introducing lean has not only been a positive change for our customers and Brooks, but for me personally.
Below are a few images of our new lean rotameter assembly lines: