Case Study

Developing a tool room

“For a variety of operations and tasks within tasks, it is better to get a vendor on board who has the largest probable product basket. Prices and costs can be worked out but value it generates, I feel, is immeasurable.”

Ms. Chandana D
Was a project head for setting up work-spaces
for the world’s biggest windmill manufacturer

When I was given the responsibility of development of new tool room at our upcoming facility in Gujarat; knowing fully well the issues and challenges with tool rooms from Bangalore facility, I was completely aware of what I had in hand back then. Merely knowing issues with material flow or storage does not meet the purpose, one needs to have back up of adequate solutions for it. While working very closely with Bangalore utility, I knew what exactly was needed, I knew the processes and overall components to be stored, but the challenge was to get a vendor on board who intends to walk through the requirement.

We broke the task to small ones and focused on achieving those in time. It made us look at our work a little less and gave us an idea of how much we really need to work. Enlisting tools required in processes got segregated into pre-molding components and post-molding components. We were sure with one thing, just because of dimensional similarity we did not want components to be mixed and stuffed in one place.

We then got the enlisted components mapped adequately into the industrial cupboards. We needed specially customized industrial cupboards for it. The one which would have 80 Kg plus load-bearing capacity per shelf, the one with few telescopic drawers in it and also for hanging some tools, we needed backside of the leaf doors to be perforated where with hooks, tools can be hung. We designed 6 cupboards and mapped all the components.

To our surprise, 6 cupboards were enough even after considering 20% more than what we required keeping future expansion in mind. Mapping of items not only saved our overall anticipated space in the tool room but also organized store helped us reduce our overall expenditure on storage. While designing trolley, the crucial most and generally ignored point was “wheels”, with our past learning it was clear from day 1 for us, that we need oval-shaped wheels wherein movement will be convenient.

There really are ample vendors who provide flat wheels with tons of capacity of bearing the load. We did not want heavy-duty trolley but needed a convenient one. So with wheels frozen to be oval-shaped, we built the kind of body we needed. And after going through over 10000 options we chose 1. And it worked out fine. For cleaning workstation, we were looking forward to an arrangement wherein the top should be smooth – preferably of metal – and base should have thick wood. This arrangement could ensure the impact load as well as the durability of the metallic surface. To our surprise, our vendor came up with 35 different types of worktops. They had options of wood thickness, metallic, ESD, rubber tops, and whatnot.

Choosing the right one was very crucial though. It may seem unnecessary, but we chose to have a look at real-life installation to get hold of the product quality, and yes we did it for a single workbench. It was easy after that. Further to that, there was this one customized product we wanted. We issue cleaning guns to our operators which get submitted back to the tool room every day and it was tool room authority’s responsibility to see to it that all remain charged. There was no specific name to this product as the application was rare. We called it
“Charging Station” It was obvious that this is something very different than what usually is available in the market ready-made. We were introduced to shop floor designers for it and we evolved the product. The basic structure was formed out of Pipes and Joints of different sizes and acrylic boxes with charging point at the base was pretty much it. It appears simple today while putting it down on paper after having the product, but back then it was tough to get something that did not exist.

I would say not only persistence from our side but also willingness to come up with something of this sort from the shop-floor design team played an equal role in getting what we wanted. For a variety of operations and tasks within tasks, it is better to get a vendor on board who has the largest probable product basket. Prices and costs can be worked out but value it generates, I feel, is immeasurable.

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