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All Flex uses a variety of different tools and techniques in its continuous improvement efforts. A Kaizen event or Blitz is one technique that has resulted in significant improvements in our yields, productivity and customer satisfaction. A Kaizen event is a short-term effort using a dedicated team that is highly focused on improving a narrowly defined process. Kaizen teams usually consist of 3–8 members that include operators, engineers and other support personnel. The implementation phase of the event usually lasts 3–6 working days and the team members are removed from their daily duties to focus 100% of their time on the Kaizen effort. A Kaizen event is highly structured, and while the exact steps may vary from project to project, the process consists of three phases:
- Planning and preparation
- Follow-up and tracking
Action items, analysis and recommendations are formally documented during each phase. The first step is to select and define the project. Kaizen events, as well as other improvement efforts, are selected based on a Pareto analysis that is presented to the management team. Selection is based on the process improvement that would have the biggest impact on one of the following:
- Customer satisfaction
The planning and preparation phase of a Kaizen blitz can take 2–6 weeks. During this phase, the project charter is defined, a team is chosen, data collected and project orientation is performed. The Kaizen event can be disruptive, so the affected departments need to plan on how to deal with the potential disruptions.
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Editor's Note: This article is originally published in the April 2016 issue of The PCB Magazine.
Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
It’s almost as if upheaval is the new normal. We often describe slow-moving but unstoppable change as moving in “geologic time.” But occasionally–like an earthquake–geology shifts suddenly. Here in my office, tracking the news of the industry, things are moving faster than geologic time, but more slowly than the jolt of an earthquake. The wave seems almost surfable, where before it seemed overwhelming. In this week’s list, we bring news from five different, high-vibration areas in our industry. If you read nothing else this week, these five items will keep you informed.
Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
It’s always interesting how certain groups of news emerge in our most-read content. This week, reader interest seemed focused on two distinct themes: Mexico and awards. In this week’s list, we find the inaugural award recipients from iNEMI’s Project Leadership Awards. We also bring you the award recipients from the SEMI FlexTech conference held last week in San Francisco. News from Mexico includes a new Atotech facility, and an interview with IPC’s David Hernandez and Lorena Villanueva about IPC’s expanding presence in Mexico. Metcal’s new hot air rework system also got a lot of attention, with an abundance of reader interest.
Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
A two-year project funded by an Innovate UK SMART Grant aims to reduce the impact of e-waste using naturally derived, biodegradable and nontoxic products. Those attending the webinar for the Institute of Circuit Technology’s annual meeting on March 2 learned more about the project, as well as statutory paperwork obligations of the UK REACH regulations. Following the formal business, ICT Chair Emma Hudson introduced and moderated this technical webinar.