Lean systems improve purchasing processes

Incap Electronics UK’s technical director, Dave Elms, shares how the company is enhancing its material in-feed, storage and kitting processes

The rapidly changing business environment over the last 18-months has encouraged companies to constantly review their processes, aiming for a lean journey that improves the overall material receiving, storing and kitting operations, resulting in a more efficient, flexible and agile organisation.

Working from its Newcastle-under-Lyme factory, Incap mainly operates in the lower volume, higher mix environment, regularly changing production runs daily. 

Technical director, Dave Elms, said: “At Incap we analyse all aspects of material flow and it was apparent significant improvements could be made by restructuring the warehouse with a lean material flow as the goal.” This has led to better visibility, reduced binning away times, improved kit picking times and increased space to accommodate growth.

“Quickly processing production kits is paramount to the overall operation and ensuring our MRP system data is up-to-date.”

lTo this end, the company has invested in an X-ray counting machine to help the factory ensure inventory counts are accurate, while part-used reels, tubes and trays are quickly counted and placed in stock or awaiting kits.

Elms added: “This process has improved our overall stock integrity, removed human error and eliminated the time-consuming task physically counting remaining parts on a reel.”

In addition, the process has helped Incap accurately appraise customers’ free-issue kits, while also letting the organisation verify delivered quantities, in many cases without opening the original packaging. This highlights any parts that have been shipped short of the expected quantity.