Practical Implementation of Lean Management Techniques and Ergonomic Consideration to Improve Manual Assembly Process During the COVID-19 Crisis
Keywords:productivity improvement, manual assembly process, Lean management, ergonomics consideration, COVID-19
This research focused on the cycle time reduction of the automotive audio monitor base frame assembly process in a small electronic parts manufacturing company through the application of the Lean and ergonomics approaches. In recent years, the company has faced the problem of not being able to assemble products to meet customers’ orders due to the need to lay off some skilled workers to survive during the COVID-19 crisis. This resulted in a severe loss in customer goodwill and confidence. The improvement process began with a review of the current assembly workflow as well as the detailed hand and arm movements of workers. Then, to determine the as-is operational procedure and average cycle time of the assembly process, a series of videos were recorded and playback in slow motion. Lean management techniques, such as 7 wastes and 5 Whys, were employed to identify the potential root causes of the problems. In addition, the ECRS (eliminate, combine, rearrange and simplify) techniques of Lean management in combination with the ergonomics principles were applied to modify the operational procedure and the postures and movements of the workers. The workspace and environmental conditions were also adjusted to enable more efficient workers’ operations. The result demonstrated that such an approach could help reduce the cycle time of the assembly process to achieve the predefined target.
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