For the implementation of a lean manufacturing process that has directly led to an increase in sale, export, and product, Ronson Gears has won the 2013 Endeavour Awards Enterprise Connect Significant Achievement award.
Ronson Gears successfully applied for an Enterprise Connect Tailored Advisory Service (TAS) which was used to apply lean principles to its production of gears for the aerospace, agriculture, automotive, defence, energy, medical, mining and rail industries.
It also conducted a market analysis to locate growth markets and improve its planning systems.
With the assistance of TXM Lean Solutions, visual and 5S systems are being utilised resulting in the significant improvement in turnaround times for the gear manufacturer.
"Traditionally, orders would tie up machines for a week at a time, holding up other work and bringing everything to a standstill. The reduction of batch sizes enabled us to deliver gearing to our bigger customers on time, more regularly," explained Gavin New, Ronson Gears' marketing manager.
"This approach also saw better turnaround times from our sub contractors and subsequently saw improved sales figures at the end of the month."
In particular this had led to an increase of export sales of 272 per cent year on year while at the same time increase its sales of stock gear products by 50 per cent.
The company explained that is "has seen lead time reductions and we experience a cleaner more organised work environment daily".
"Communication between is [also] more plentiful.
"We have also seen improvements in the way we plan our work," the company stated.
"What was once a time consuming process and an inaccurate representation of our workflow is now far more accurate and a more efficient way of planning through better utilisation of our MRP system. By conducting an audit on our internal MRP system, M1, it enabled us to understand more adequately what we have had at our fingertips for some time."
The introduction of lean manufacturing has had the most impact on the way the company does business.
Productivity has been increased due to a greater focus on work being planned and released to the factory more promptly.
By establishing a contract review process that identified new work and repeat work more clearly it enabled the planners to identify which jobs may take longer than others to plan which then allowed them to organise their day more efficiently. This saw the company start jobs on time and further improve on our on time deliveries.
It also improved processes by purchasing a new CNC cylindrical grinding machine, which enabled Ronson Gear to bring more work back 'in-house", which gave it greater control over deliveries and helped to cut sub-contracting costs.
"Our other major purchase was the upgrade of our CNC rack milling machine ensuring Australian industry has access to competitive gear rack production."
The machine is extremely accurate and flexible (it can gear cut large pitch racks and small pitch racks from 50mm in length to 6000mm in length).
"Other purchases that have increased our competitiveness over the last 12 months include a new CNC machining centre offering faster machine times and increased accuracy and a CNC slotting machine providing us with extra capability beyond our broaching machine for internal gears, internal splines and key ways."
Both purchases again enabled Ronson Gears to avoid having to send work off site for machining, addressing the cost contractors.
"Further sustainability measures have been undertaken in the purchase of new machinery, as mentioned earlier," New added
"The benefit of new machines is not confined to just increased quality and faster machine times, they also offer cleaner technology as they use less power and emit less pollution (both noise and environmental).
Following the acquisition of the CNC machines, Ronson carried out additional strategic planning.
"We needed to be more innovative in our thought processes," New said.
"Innovation through our KHK Stock Gear Products, our service offering and our production processes resulted in some wins for the company"
Previously Ronson manufactured its own stock range of gear and gear racks, providing some 200 items on the shelf.
"It was becoming increasingly evident that Australian industry wanted more from their stock gear supplier so through our international relationships established over the years we pursued a Japanese supplier who shares similar values to ours -a family run business that embodies quality gear products."
As a result, Ronson now stocks over 2,000 line items (and has access to over 9,000 different gear related items) which has enabled Australian and New Zealand industry to keep producing with minimal downtime.
"With the current downturn our industry is experiencing it is fair to say that by addressing the action items in our Business Review has better positioned our company to be able to work through these tougher times," New stated.