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    Productivity and process performance in a manual trimming cell exploiting Lean Six Sigma (LSS) DMAIC – a case study in laminated panel production

    Hardy, Daniel, Kundu, Saikat and Latif, Muhammad (2021) Productivity and process performance in a manual trimming cell exploiting Lean Six Sigma (LSS) DMAIC – a case study in laminated panel production. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 38 (9). pp. 1861-1879. ISSN 0265-671X

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    Purpose The purpose of this case study is to investigate inefficiency and downtime factors within a panel lamination process cell at a timber component manufacturing company. Areas of concern related predominantly to the manual trimming or finishing of a range of laminated timber panels for the caravan and leisure industry. The intermittent feeding of inputs and material outputs was also investigated during this case study. Design/methodology/approach The case study was conducted over a six-month period using the Six Sigma defining, measuring, analysing, improving and controlling (DMAIC) construct. But was equally supported through a combination of tools both applied in lean manufacturing and statistical properties commonly assigned to Six Sigma projects. Findings This paper provides insights about the identification of the root causes for poor productivity and overall equipment effectiveness issues experienced by manual trimming/finishing operations in a laminated timber panel production cell. It also identifies solutions to overcome these issues and benefits (such as improved OEE, reduced downtime and savings in staffing costs) that were obtained due to the application of these solutions. This study contributes to understanding the interconnections of fork-lift truck movements with staff members working within manual finishing areas connected to a panel lamination cell. Originality/value This paper contributes new knowledge into the root causes of poor productivity and process performance within manual finishing operations in a laminated timber panel production cell at a small medium enterprise. By applying elements of Six Sigma' quality focussed analytical methods within the DMAIC structure, and simultaneously applying the waste reduction method of lean manufacturing, this paper provides useful perspective on why both these quality improvement-based ideologies are applied to overcome process issues in manufacturing.

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