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Black River Falls, Wis. — Michael Dougherty, President & CEO of D&S Manufacturing, announced that the company’s utilization of an andon light system to manage material handling processes has enabled the company to add production capacity without the need to integrate new equipment.

According to Rob Bucek, Production Control Manager, D&S was seeking an approach to more logically manage the moving, organizing and staging of materials within its manufacturing environment. The solution was to efficiently transfer the responsibility of material handling from individual operators to a separate Material Handling Department that reports directly to the Shipping Department. In doing so, the company has been able to significantly reduce forklift traffic as well as shrink the size of its forklift fleet from 19 to 8 trucks.

Industrial Andons of Austin, TX, created a color-coded visual alert system, based on priority, that allows operators to quickly and efficiently communicate requests for materials, tools and fixturing as a package. This is done in advance of starting each new job to avoid work stoppages. The system also addresses ongoing production requirements.

“Now, instead of more than 100 employees pulling and returning various items within the plant, six individuals across three shifts utilize defined procedures to complete these tasks. This enables our machine operators to remain at their work centers producing parts. As a result, scheduled move and queues between operations went from 8 to 12 hours down to 2 hours. We have also witnessed a significant reduction in equipment setup, project lead times and manufacturing expense,” Bucek explained. The ability to track average response time and system downtime has also improved accuracy in the scheduling process.

“While the logistical benefits presented by this system are invaluable, the key to the success of this program has been the ability of each operator to trust the members of the Material Handling team to take care of a portion of the manufacturing process,” Bucek concluded.

For more than 40 years, ISO 9001:2008 certified D&S Manufacturing has served as a custom manufacturer of exceptional quality large scale components, assemblies and complete weldments for a broad cross section of well-respected corporations that include Caterpillar, Oshkosh Corporation, Parkson, The Trane Company and CNH. The company’s extensive capabilities include technologically superior machining, laser, high definition plasma and oxy-fuel cutting, as well as manual and robotic welding. These resources are complemented by diverse value-added services ranging from liquid spray painting, powder coating and shot blasting to assembly and testing. A dedicated and highly skilled workforce lives a commitment to superior project management, exceptional quality, accountability, teamwork and continuous improvement, which empowers the company to live its slogan, D&S …. Solid™.

For more information, please contact John Barkley, General Manager, D&S Manufacturing, P. O. Box 279, Black River Falls, WI, 54615, 715-284-5376, ext. 307 or fax 715-284-4084. Send e-mail to jbarkley@dsmfg.com, and visit D&S Manufacturing's Web site at www.dsmfg.com.