What is high mix, low volume manufacturing?
Welcome to today’s world, where everybody wants it tomorrow and new technology is always being developed. OEM manufacturers must always be adapting. The days of long product life and designs that never change are over. In order to stay relevant, you must be cutting edge. From a manufacturing standpoint- how do you meet your production demands but keep your inventory to a minimum or keep no inventory at all? You can’t be stuck with old inventory and obsolete products. This is where high mix, low volume manufacturing comes in. You keep little to no inventory and your forecasting part requirements are kept down to the day you need it. Your gear is in house manufacturing or your vendor base follows suit.
How is this managed? There are a few terms that come to mind: made to order, JIT (Just In Time), KANBAN, LEAN, just to name a few. In our world of CNC manufacturing there are “buffers” that we employ, so we can react quickly:
Our material suppliers keep inventory so we can order and they can deliver within a day or two.
We keep material inventory in house to react to custom orders the same day.
High mix, low volume parts that repeat on a timed forecasted schedule are planned for production.
Jobs are scheduled weeks in advance and are to be delivered to a customer requested arrival date.
Everything works as planned, right?
That is all good but even the best plans and schedules will be stressed. Demand will change on a dime. So how will high mix, low volume manufacture handle stress and changes? Next month we will dive deeper. The picture above shows a part that is machined complete in a two station fixture. We have a delivery schedule for this to ship every few months. For this part, the fixturing is simple and dedicated. The tooling is always in the machine and it is used on this part, as well as in other jobs. When it comes time in the schedule for this job to run, all of the initial setup work is not lost. The fixturing “snaps” into place and we start running. This process takes about 15 minutes. Your parts could be a candidate for this method of manufacturing. If you’re looking for a company that can handle your high mix low volume production- contact K Tooling today!
In recent years, there has been an increase in demand for 5-axis machining services, especially for the manufacturing of critical components and parts.
Not all 5 axis machining and machines are the same, let me explain…
Why K Tooling?
- Most quotes within hours.
- Manageable lead-time / expedite options and expectations
- ISO:9000/ AS9100 Compliant QC System in place.
- High Mix, Low Volume (HMLV) philosophy in place to meet your needs.
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