Kanban at S.A.I. Schweiger

13 June 2019 – Since we, Andreas and I founded S.A.I. Schweiger, I have been responsible for the procurement of consumables etc. With the growth to several employees, this became of course more and more impractical, because I could hardly hand over the process of ordering to one employee. After all, this employee cannot know all the details for ordering the material on his own and in the end it should be the right Sub-D connector and not “just anyone”. On YouTube I recently came across the video “AWESOME Lean Machine Shop Tour: Pierson Workholding!” from NYC CNC and thought it might solve our problem. A simple test with simple KANBAN cards, printed on normal paper, already showed the great potential. Over time the cards were further developed and improved. We now use laminated cards with information that has proven to be relevant to our business. I was surprised at how little effort we were able to save time and thus also costs. The ordering process for employees takes only a few seconds for consumables, since only the card has to be brought to the office and the order is collected there.

After we bought a 3D printer, I had an idea that allowed us to expand the system even further. Only hours later I printed the first KANBAN boxes. These boxes have a cutout for the KANBAN card at the front and thus make it easier for us to organize and label various consumables. The big advantage is that even if we have to move materials from a small box to a large box over time, we do not have to reprint the adhesive labeling of the box with a label printer, but simply insert the KANBAN card into the recess of the larger box. Different types of boxes have been printed for different purposes and materials: simple ones with only one compartment, boxes with several subdivisions, such as for example for cutters with subdivisions for new/used/worn cutters, etc. With this simple idea I was able to find a very simple and practical solution for organizing and re-ordering.

Reinhard Schweiger
– Managing Director