LEAN MANUFACTURING at IBF
IBF's journey in the LEAN philosophy began almost three years ago with improved production processes and the reorganization of its LAY-OUTS. To do so, the VSM tool was used to define the production flows and optimize the Lay-outs of the Tubes and Fittings Divisions.
Among many other advantages, the new lay-outs have led to significant savings in production costs and increased lead-times; both of which are essential, first of all, to face the market crisis of recent years and, secondly, to face the future with guarantees of success.
In addition to the reorganization of processes and lay-outs, in recent years, IBF has also been committed to the implementation and use of tools such as TxPS, SMED, 5S, TPM and
It is worth highlighting that TxPS has proven to be a key tool for the cultural change and immersion of the entire IBF workforce in the LEAN philosophy, contributing to significant production improvements, efficiency of processes and better monitoring of production through the KPIs. The daily and weekly TxPS meetings mean that the system receives information feedback, which facilitates swift decision-making, and is constantly improving.
Although the progress and improvements obtained at IBF through the LEAN philosophy have been significant in recent years, the company will still rely on the continuous improvement process to adapt and survive in a market that is increasingly dynamic and competitive.
In 2015, the Tubes Division was made up of three production plants and as a result of the improvements and the introduction of the LEAN philosophy at IBF, all of the processes and equipment were concentrated in two plants. This organization enabled the areas to be optimized for the installation of a new cold drawing process for tubes, a 15-meter long thermal treatment furnace and new automatic ultrasound equipment.
The Fittings Division was made up of four production plants and, like the Tubes Division, the improvements were substantial, with the concentration of all the equipment and processes in two plants, leaving a third as a cutting center and warehouse; and closing the fourth plant.