Kongsberg Maritime Subsea is the hydro-acoustic division of Kongsberg Maritime (KM) in Norway. At its main location in Horten, 100km South West of Oslo, KM Subsea develops and produces high-tech instrumentation and equipment for underwater mapping, subsea navigation and positioning, and fishery / naval applications, as well as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), such as the Hugin (see second video).

KM Subsea in Horten has approx. 450 employees, with 150 of these organized in the company’s core supply chain operations – transducer manufacturing, manufacturing system test, warehouse, shipping, procurement, and supply chain quality.

 

Transducer manufacturing is a very complex operation, with many process steps. Due to a broad product specter, the processes are organized in a traditional job shop (functional) layout – with products and components often flowing bi-directionally. The combination of a high variety and low volume of products (one-three), as well as complex processes and material flow result in high volumes of work-in-process (WIP) inventory and long throughput times in production.

In an attempt to address these challenges, in 2014 KM Subsea embarked on its corporate lean program - The KONGSBERG Way - whereby transducer manufacturing has been the pilot area for implementation. So far, the focus has been on the creation of continuous improvement teams and the adoption of “basic” lean practices such as 5S workplace organization and visual management. More recently, attempts have also been made to reduce the quantity of WIP units in transducer manufacturing in order to reduce the production throughput time, with positive effects. In future, efforts will be made to address more “advanced” lean practices such as just-in-time and pull systems, where outputs from Euro-LEAN will be very valuable – particularly in the development of work load control mechanisms for shopfloor control in complex, one-of-a-kind production environments.

 

 

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