IntroductionTwentiethCentury Fires Ltd (C20 Fires) is a fireplace manufacturing company.
It wasestablished 15 years ago as an extension of work of removing fireplaces andfitting replacement gas fires by its managing director Tim. Now, C20 firesprovides fireplaces of many styles which includes 1920s Art Deco fireplaces toVictorian/ Edwardian fireplace designs. C20 fires also lets its customer todesign their own fireplace.
Some of theproducts and services that C20 fires manufactures and delivers are as follows:Complete Tiled Fireplaces,Fireplace Hearths, Handmade Fireplace Inserts, Fireplace Tiles, HandmadeMantels, Reclaim and restore Original Fireplaces from twentieth century,Reclaimed Fireplace Inserts, Reclaimed and restored fireplace mantels from theEdwardian era, Supply and installation of Baxi Burnall System, Fire backs andbricks of various sizes, Marble Fireplaces, Solid Fuel Fires, Gas Fires,Electric Fires, Fireplace Accessories, Coal Bunkers, Renewable and recycled fuels,Fireplace safety devices, chimney balloons etc.20thCentury Fires Ltd is one of the only few companies in the UK that refurbishoriginal fireplaces and surround. Its office is located at Stockport,Lancashire. With large numbers of housings nearby and quick access to M60motorway which encloses the city of Manchester, C20 fires has locationadvantage.
Here, customers and supplies can easily locate the factory.With 15 years ofexperience in the field, Tim describes that they had made a good link with thesuppliers who design metal products and also gets wooden products made toorder. Company also emphasizes on direct sales rather than going through middlelayer of people like retailers. Because according on Tim’s interview, he saysthat, retailers tend to sell what they have in the shop rather than somethingthat customers want.
Tim further elaborates that when company takes ordersaccording to client’s demand and design, customers values the product more andcan wait for the completion of product manufacturing, hence it gives companymore time to complete the job. In this way, they can satisfy the customer’sdemand as well as complete the job as easily as possible. From a marketingpoint of view, previously, their product was marketed through a word of mouthbut now C20 fire is operating six different websites where two main websitesare used to sell Victorian cast iron fireplaces only. According toCompany’s P&L Account, we can observe that C20 Fires is earning a fairamount of profit from its sales. However, company is still encountering manydifficulties in the manufacturing process, goods handling and storage processand product delivery process.In this report,we will review the production process adopted by Twentieth Century Fires Ltd.And critically analyze how LEAN production system has or can be applied indifferent stages of the production.
LEAN Manufacturing or LEANProduction System: From early 1800’swith the start of industrial age, manufacturers have been thinking aboutvarious logistics system to make their manufacturing processes more economicaland efficient. In due time different manufacturers developed their ownindividual techniques to identify what happens in-between processes, how multipleprocesses can be arranged and how the chain of processes function as a system.Those developed techniques were standardized and practiced throughout theworld. Most of thelarge manufacturers developed their own ideas for economic and efficientproduction system where they are more focused on controlling wastes.
ToyotaProduction System or Just In Time (JIT) Production is a wastes reduction systemadopted by Toyota Motor Company. LEAN thinking isa philosophy prioritizing the value stream of all tasks by eliminatingunnecessary work (non- value adding jobs), align all involved processes andsteps in a continuous flow, focus on cross functional team and continuous improvement.(Hines et al.
1998) “The valueStream is those set of tasks and activities required to design and make afamily of products or services that are undertaken with a group of linkedfunctions or companies from the point of customer specification right back tothe raw material source.” (Hines et al, 2000, p5)Adopting Lean can radicallychange the business. Lean management system is basically based on fourprinciples.
They are 1) Pull: Rather than producing asmuch as possible, customer’s demands pulls the goods and services through themanufacturing process. This minimizes over production, inventory and ultimatelyworking capital.2) One-piece flow: It focuses onone single piece at a time which minimizes work in progress, process anderuptions, lead and waiting time. It increases quality and flexibility.3) Tact: It’s a heartbeat of LEANsystem. It’s how fast you need to manufacture a product and meet customer’sdemand.
Tact allows us to balance work content, achieve a continuous flow andrespond flexibly to the changes in the market place. 4) Zero Defect: Mistakes happen but a LEANcompany doesn’t pass on defects. Mistakes from previous steps must be fixedbefore going on combined with the robust continuous improvement process.