Case Study 1: A testing time

As a sub contract manufacturer of PCB's and specialised electro mechanical assemblies it is vitally important to continually improve the flexibility within the manufacturing processes to ensure that the business can meet customer expectations.

Most of the products manufactured have to be electrically tested before being dispatched to the customer but with space not fully utilised in the original test area it presented issues with test capacity and process flow, especially at times of increased customer demand.

Smoothing the demand is a difficult task in this type of industry and so the immediate solution was to focus on increasing test capacity by improving space utilisation, reducing set up time and creating a visual system to support work order prioritisation.

Product testing occupied an area of the manufacturing facility which also incorporated a packing process and associated materials.

This not only presented issues with space for test benches during periods of extra demand but also with additional members of staff working in an area where sensitive equipment is being used and stored.

If the packaging process were relocated to the individual manufacturing areas it would provide the necessary space to increase the testing capacity, eliminate the clutter in the test area and give the scope to implement a visual management system so that work orders can be easily prioritised without the need for verbal confirmation from supervision.

It would also provide an opportunity to organise the test equipment in a more safe and efficient manner which would contribute to reducing set up time on some product lines.


A team of trained facilitators and staff from the test area analysed and evaluated the existing process to identify the required test equipment and to determine the test bench locations.

The packaging process was relocated in the manufacturing areas and the remaining clutter in the test area removed using 5S techniques.

The new layout incorporated additional test benches and a new racking system for controlling product flow, work order prioritisation and storage of test equipment.

A new networked PC was installed so that test specifications can be downloaded easier and quicker.

Also as part of the improvement project a risk assessment of the revised layout was carried out to ensure that the new set up for electrical testing complied with current regulations.

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57% Improvement in space utilisation
100% Increase in test capacity
25% reduction in set up
Visual prioritisation of work orders
Significant increase in 5S rating

Customer Profile

Sub-contract electronics & electro mechanical assembly

Main focus of activity
Process Analysis & 5S




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