Hidden costs, whether they're considered individually or in combination, can have a surprising impact on a manufacturer's bottom line.
And when it comes to the production of a leaf chain system for a telehandler or forklift, taking the time to identify and review those costs could reap you some significant savings.
At the heart of the concept of lean manufacturing is the premise that activities can be identified as either adding value or not adding value.
Value is basically defined as something that your customer is willing to pay to receive. And anything else you do that isn't perceived by your customer as adding value falls under the category of waste.
What we think of as waste can take a multitude of forms.
There's the time spent waiting or when equipment is lying idle.
There's the waste associated with the excess motion or transportation of products - or the handling or moving of things.
There's the risk of over-processing, where you're putting more effort into the product than the final customer needs - or of overproduction, where you find you're making more of a product than is required at that time.
And then of course, there's the management of defective items that need to be either fixed or discarded.
Anything you can do to save time will add value to the forklifts you're producing for your customers.
Choosing to purchase your leaf chain components separately, for example, and then having them assembled in-house, may not always be the most efficient method.
There's the cost of receiving and then storing the components - not to mention the time your technicians will need to spend picking and kitting those parts before they're sent on to the mast assembly area.
The leaf chain then needs to be cut to length and the chain waste disposed of.
Then comes the assembly of the leaf chain to the chain anchors.
And then, finally, the application of lubrication to the completed chain assembly.
If you compare that process with purchasing a pre-assembled leaf chain kit, then it's easy to see where savings (both in cost and time) can quickly be made.
The proof of course, lies in the numbers.
We recently suggested to one of our prospective customers that they compare the total cost of purchasing the individual items for their leaf chain assembly versus choosing a pre-assembled or kitted option.
When they compared the price of kits from FB with their current piece price, FB's option was more expensive.
However when they factored in the total cost of the non-value-added activity of sourcing their components separately, the non-value-added element accounted for just over a quarter (26%) of the total price.
What they discovered was that choosing a kit over separate parts could offer them a saving in the region of $11.53 USD (or £8.95 GBP) per unit.
So where exactly are those savings being made?
First of all, the task of sourcing, procuring and storing all the individual components is handed over to your industrial chain manufacturer.
The leaf chain arrives pre-cut to your specified length which removes the inconvenience, and needless expense, of having to discard sections of excess chain.
Each chain comes pre-assembled with specially designed leaf chain anchor bolts and blocks.
Coatings, lubricants and surface finishes are applied to the parts according to their specification.The leaf chain and leaf chain anchors are also supplied in protective plastic sleeves to prevent contamination and aid in clean assembly.
Leaf chain assembly kits bring together a whole family of parts into one unit and can be tailor made to suit the specific requirements of each project.
If you'd like to find out more about the bespoke leaf chain solutions we provide at FB Chain, please get in touch with a member of our team.
You can also download your free copy of our eBook on 'Leaf Chain for Telehandlers' by clicking on the box below.