The Benefits of Kitting
As 2018 approaches the global manufacturing market is ever changing, with a greater number of products, shorter life cycles and an increase in consumers demand for greater customisation. The constant pressure to increase turnaround of new products with a larger number of parts, variants, and components is putting extra strain on all manufacturers. The world of manufacturing and logistics needs to quickly adapt to these demands of the marketplace and the consumer. The ability to manufacture high quality products while keeping costs low is the formula for success. However, this is easier said than done with many manufacturing companies losing space, time and money trying to keep up with the changing trends and demands. One of the biggest unforeseen impacts of this trend towards more products with shorter life cycles and greater customisation is the space needed at line side to store the growing number of components. Due to this realisation and the change in space needed to house these components we have seen the emergence and growing popularity of kitting within a manufacturing environment.
SO, WHAT IS KITTING?
Kitting can be defined as the process of gathering parts and components (possibly even pre-assembling some) used in the manufacturing process of a product and delivering the parts to the point of use (line side) in a “kit”. It helps in simplifying the complexity and components at line side, equipment costs and boost efficiency by eliminating “search time”
Kit-cart for ring shaped components at Eberspaecher
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES TO KITTING?
The expansion in having a larger number of parts and components due to the increase of different variants per product, feeding systems have had to become more efficient. This is the reason why kitting has now gathered in popularity with many manufacturers.
Elimination of “Search Time”
Using kitting as your main material feeding system reduces the time handlers & operators will look for certain parts or components due to all parts arriving within a kit. While this may seem minimal when viewed daily, the time saved monthly or yearly can add up quite quickly.
Improved Organisation in the Work Floor
Using a kitting material feeding system reduces the number of parts that need to be available to the operators and handlers on the work floor. This not only improves the organisation of the overall warehouse, but also improves the safety standards for your workers. Having less parts and materials on the factory floor will free up space and therefore reduce the chances of an accident.
By far the biggest advantage many manufacturers see in turning towards a kitting system is the space saved at line side. No more will you have your operators boxed in and surrounded by a wide range of parts and components. Instead they will have what they need, delivered to them when they need it. The growing trends previously stated (shorter product life cycles, increased product complexity, greater consumer customisation) are causing a shortage of space in many work floors today, in particular at the point of assembly. This isn’t an easy challenge for many organisation to overcome, so kitting has now become quite common.
While kitting hasn’t been viewed as a solution for every organisation it has grown in popularity. The perceived increase in material handling has some organisations a little nervous about introducing a kitting solution. While there are some improvements that can be made within the kitting method including specially designed kitting boxes or delivery pallets, an improvement in the electronic support and making the kitting locations as close as possible to the line feed, etc.
It does seem kitting will be preferred method for many manufacturers that are looking at increasing their efficiency, product handling, flexibility, cutting down the complexity at the point of assembly and most importantly creating more space on work floors.
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