Operational Performance Improvement: Capacity and Throughput Improvement


A first-generation, $12 million Metal Stampings Manufacturer serving automotive OEM and Tier 1 customers was underperforming with reported throughput and efficiency values ranging between 46% – 58%.


  • Company was experiencing increased costs due to delays, defects and downtime
  • Demonstrated asset efficiency averaged 32%, 14-26 points below the company’s reported range of performance
  • Downtime comprised 46% of scheduled run time with nearly a 50/50 split between process elements and mechanical failure costing the company $900,000 in wages and $15 million in lost capacity
  • Changeover efficiency exceeded standard by a factor of 1.6x
  • Press operators were performing various work tasks which created dozens of micro-stops per hour
  • Company was required to add an additional shift in order to meet customer demand
  • Plant layout was congested, had poor line of sight, and no clear traffic pattern


  • Company engaged BlueWater Partners to conduct a Focused Improvement (FI) event to identify and implement system-wide improvements to increase throughput across manufacturing
  • Conducted 10-day improvement event on 600T press (pilot) to capture current state, identify areas of erosion, and implement scalable solutions for improved layout, setup, and run
  • Performed Day in the Life Of (DILO) observations and categorized and quantified activities as value add, business value add, and non-value add
  • Eliminated Lean Wastes, balanced workload across resource base, and applied 5S to improve layout and flow
  • Established Production Ready container management area and end of line Quick Change 2-Bin Kanban model for part accumulation, container staging and replenishment


  • 26% increase in throughput on 600T press, recouping $23,000 in wages and $200,000 in lost capacity
  • Increased value-add time at the machine enabling company to produce 100% of customer demand while eliminating unnecessary shift
  • Established Future State plant layout that accommodates highest running product, consolidated “centers of excellence” for manufacturing, quality, tooling, OSP, and inventory activities, has dedicated perimeter aisle with E-W/N-S traffic, and clear line of sight, and incorporates Drop Zones for interior/exterior moves
  • Delivered scalable improvement plan that recoups $500,000 in wages and $7.6 million in lost capacity due to process related downtime

Published with client permission