FARR Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of McCoy Corporation manufactures and distributes hydraulic power tongs used in work-over and drilling applications on land and offshore rigs.
In addition to the standard models, FARR custom designs hydraulic power tongs for specialized applications, such as slant drilling. The company also markets a complete line of hydraulic power units, kelly spinners, urethane thread protectors, and computer-analysed torque turn systems.
FARR, which has a manufacturing facility in Edmonton, recently embarked on an initiative called "Value in Process" or the "VIP" program, around September 2005.
VIP was implemented to streamline production in the face of capacity constraints such as labour, space, and equipment. Jim Rakievich, CEO of McCoy Corporation, and Dan Dagenais, President of FARR Canada, believed that there were opportunities inherent in the manufacturing process.
Once they overcame the capacity constraints in their facility, FARR could take advantage of a booming market for their products. William (Billy) Traynor, Director of Advanced Manufacturing at McCoy, who was tasked with implementing VIP, said the following regarding the task:
"What was needed was a complete culture change; almost a back-to-basics approach. It was also important for every employee to be engaged in the process and to identify with it. That is why we didn't call it LEAN Manufacturing, but created our own VIP (Value in Process) program. It was clear at the outset, that the facility was not designed for material to flow.
There were some parts that traveled 1200 ft. before they reached assembly, which included multiple steps to the warehouse. So we trained operators on concepts of cell design and made them responsible for the layout of their cells."
In December of 2005, FARR shut down its operations and completed a remarkable transformation of its facility:
- Shop equipment was moved around in an effort to improve the "flow" of material through the shop.
- The items in the warehouse were moved out to their "point-of-use", leading to a reduction in the warehouse space requirements (savings of more than 4000 sq. ft.).
- There was also a reduction in Work-In-Process (WIP) inventory, which freed up an additional 4800 sq. ft. of space.
- Cell leaders were made responsible for the operation within their cells. This included keeping the cells clean and well organized (the 6-S program).
- Kanban systems, part supermarkets and quality systems were hard-coded into the process to achieve the desired performance.
Billy and Dan expect to stabilize the production process and then look to dramatically increase output from the facility.
FARR is in the process of adding a paint-booth into the facility (most of the space requirements for the paint booth were met by the space freed up by the improved layout and processes), and also its own heat-treating facility.
"The plant is brighter, cleaner, better organized and morale is high, but this is not a project; this is a journey," say Billy and Dan.
We wholeheartedly agree.