How can World Class Manufacturing improve your supply chain’s effectiveness and agility?

Today's industry challenge is identifying capacity for high end assembly - How NTS helps. NTS Systems Assembly Eindhoven is growing and thriving. Production levels and employee numbers have grown significantly in the past three years. In order to effectively manage this growth, both within the organization and from the client’s perspective, the assembly facility is fully focused on World Class Manufacturing. The focus here is on adding value and eliminating losses in the total supply chain. This will translate into optimum quality, speed and cost efficiency. As a first-tier systems supplier that focuses on markets with high levels of product diversity, low volumes and high complexity, the human factor is crucial.

Starting in 2016, production levels at the NTS Systems Assembly Eindhoven have risen by 30 percent each year. The number of employees rose at the same pace. Rob van Zutphen, Operations Manager at the assembly facility, is proud of that growth, even though it poses new challenges for him and his team. Customers want quality, guaranteed supply and a competitive price. How can you ensure all of that while you are on a giant learning curve and new employees are coming on board?

Positive interaction
NTS Systems Assembly Eindhoven took on this new task by focusing on World Class Manufacturing. This approach emphasizes an optimal and ongoing positive interaction between clients, the company and employees. The focus here is on adding value and eliminating losses in the total supply chain. There are only two factors that can be controlled: processes and the people carrying them out. When assembling diverse and complex devices in small batches, 80 percent of the added value is determined by the employees.

Rigorous transformation
The NTS Systems Assembly factory in Eindhoven has undergone a rigorous transformation in the past year and a half. The assembly of products is facilitated per client by a multidisciplinary team that is present on the production floor. At the entrance to the factory, there are a large number of white boards with current information, including orders, planning schedules, production volume and what shifts people can work. This also makes it possible to pinpoint what is working well and what is not for each product. Here, the management and employees discuss the ongoing projects.

Operational excellence
“Everything you see here is proof of the changes that have been happening”, according to Van Zutphen. “It’s absolutely crucial to create a culture where you can really excel operationally, and you do that by having robust and predictable processes. I am referring to things like teamwork, commitment, awareness, communication and increasing skills and knowledge. This means that everyone here is responsible for thinking about and realizing World Class Manufacturing.”

Production flow
The new dynamic at NTS Systems Assembly Eindhoven has yielded great results. Four years ago, they could build five to ten complex modules a year for a high-tech OEM. Now, thanks to the new production flow and a one-third increase to the production facility space, they can build 14 every month. Van Zutphen says, “This is the kind of output that leads to greater customer satisfaction, a better mood on the work floor and healthier business operations. Investing in World Class Manufacturing will remain the basis for our future developments as well.”

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This news article was part of our newsletter Accelerating News Q3 - 2018