Value Stream Mapping: Welch Allyn
Welch Allyn is a fourth generation family business with its headquarters in Skaneateles, NY. The company produces medical equipment primarily for doctors and nurses and services 95% of North America. In the Skaneateles operation, over one million dollars worth of inventory is shipped out and distributed to retailers on a daily basis. Welch Allyn was started in 1915 and has also been on the frontline of innovation that stems from their major investment in a top of the line research and development department that has generated hundreds of patents over the last one hundred years. Their headquarters has recently undergone a massive extension that also brought them up to gold LEED certification level. Welch Allyn has adopted the most efficient and effective practices over the years to achieve the best efficiency in their manufacturing and operations. These practices include a Kanban system, automation, and recycling of scrap materials.
Current Maintenance Process
For our Value Stream Mapping project we first connected with the head of maintenance at the Welch Allyn facility. He agreed to let us we consult with his maintenance team and observe the maintenance process. We talked about the various inputs and outputs that make up a maintenance order starting from step one which is a request from a customer. In the maintenance world a customer could be any employee who needed maintenance work. The types of jobs are classified into two categories: P1, and P2. The maintenance requests are generally received via phone, in person or through an email. The maintenance department prefers this initial step to be in email format because it is help to have instructions in a physical form for reference purposes. From here the information is entered into the SAP system. In the SAP system a maintenance tradesman will review the jobs that are currently open and need to be taken up. It is up to him to take the most relevant and time sensitive’s jobs as first priority. Next they will manually enter these into the SAP work Que. The whole company runs off of the SAP system, even the maintenance department. They then will review the work queue and pick out what is most important and have that job assigned tot hem. The maintenance worker will clarify the order and then the physical work process begins.
The worker next will acquire all required materials, labor, and tools. Next the maintenance worker will do the job. Finally the worker will update the work order and close the work order.
Welch Allyn uses SAP to drive and account for the majority of business processes including building maintenance. While SAP is not necessarily built for a maintenance function, it still has been used to store and execute work orders. When assessing improvements to the current system we knew the SAP system would remain as the core of the maintenance operation but we could create efficiencies by smoothing the flow of information in and out of the SAP system. A major problem is that there is no standardized medium of communication to maintenance, which results in a mixture of voice, text, email, and voicemail. This leads to problems regarding the expectations and complexities of the jobs. In maintenance it is costly to have to re do a job and creates a bottleneck. We propose to create a standard form that will be used to drive maintenance requests by an attachment on an email. This document will capture all-important information needed by the maintenance worker. Redundant steps will be eliminated in order to get the most out of the SAP system. 2.5 hours on average will be removed from the process by requiring customers to email a customized form to the maintenance department, eliminating the “review open job” , and the review work queue functions. The customer will also be required to fill out a feedback form to increase the department benchmarking capabilities. Overall the benefits and costs savings are that the department will adopt a pro-active maintenance approach, priority 1 (P1) and priority 2 (P2) can be differentiated easily, the system will be able to hold an enhanced capacity and most importantly a 1.94 hour decrease in average time per order will occur.