Siemens Industrial Gas Turbine Service business employs over 500 people at its site in Lincoln and is the global service product centre for small scale industrial gas turbines. It provides technical product support and overhauls globally for a fleet of 1650 gas turbines.
The Siemens name has long been associated with innovation and cutting edge technology, however the Company also has a stated objective in the UK to become just as well known for high quality customer service through people and process excellence.
The team at Lincoln take this objective very seriously, working hard to continuously improve their processes, and their involvement with Gemba Solutions began initially with a project to improve build lead-time in their Re-Manufacturing area, where pre-used gas turbines are refurbished.
"We had been measuring build lead-time using a manual process prior to working with Gemba."Nick broom, head service manufacturing
"This involved collating information from our SAP system. This introduced inaccuracies - sometimes paperwork was not dealt with for a few days after the event." At this time, build lead-time was running at more than 5 times the corporate target, which initiated a CI (Continuous Improvement) program within Siemens to try to improve this KPI. "As a business, delivering a return on investment is fundamental to success, and to commit to longer term."
Siemens decided to pilot Gemba Solutions software, tracking turbines through 9 work areas in the Re-Manufacturing division.
"Most of these types of system are designed to work best in a high volume environment", said Nick. "Our division deals with high value, slow moving product, where cycle times often exceed individual shifts."
"We selected Gemba because their software is easy to understand and, most importantly, could be tailored to suit our environment."Nick broom, head service manufacturing
Once installed, the software began to track the individual turbines as they move between work areas, calculating the total length of time a turbine spends in each area, how much of that time is actually spent working on the turbine and how much is non-value-added time, and then the total cycle time for each turbine.
In terms of improving build lead-time, downtime is obviously a key metric and the Siemens team were keen to begin interrogating the system to find out how much downtime they had, and what was contributing to it.
The system showed the top three downtime reasons to be "Waiting Part", "Build Clearance" (moving turbines between work areas) and "Waiting Labour", clearly highlighting response times as a significant factor in the overall build lead-time, and a focus for the team.
Siemens staff used Gemba’s Annunciation software module to enable requests for support from the shop-floor to be displayed on Andon boards, highlighting the work area that needs support and the type of support required (ie. engineering, quality, logistics etc). An email is automatically sent by the system to the relevant staff member and the system’s in-built escalation process ensures that issues are dealt with effectively.
"The reaction to this from staff on the shop-floor was excellent, because they instantly saw an improvement in response times from supporting departments."Nick broom, head service manufacturing
Because the data on the Andon boards highlights the specific type of support required, help is not only quicker in arriving, but is also tailored to each requirement.
Along with improved response times on the shop-floor, Siemens have seen numerous other benefits so far, including a massive, positive impact on their key metric of build lead-time.
"Build lead-time has improved by around 60% since the software has been installed"
"Quick wins have included a skills flexibility program, improved line-side stocking, bill of material development and implementation of offline operations."Nick broom, head service manufacturing
These improvements are so significant that the company has now rolled-out Gemba’s software to other production areas