Established in 1981, Lanemark Combustion Engineering Ltd has a long history in the development and supply of industrial gas burner systems, maximising their energy efficiency, control optimisation and enhancing their environmental performance. From design and manufacture to installation, commissioning and ongoing after-sales support, they fulfil the requirements for Industrial Process Heating for liquid tanks and Process Air as well as fired heaters in the Oil and Gas Industry whether it be for new plant builds or upgrades of the existing plant.
Although they are leaders in the industry, in 2020, Lanemark saw the potential for improvements within their factory space in terms of layout and logistics. They needed more space on the shop floor and also to reduce cycle times, eliminate non-value-added processes and reduce the material distance travelled. They used a storage unit for some of their operations, but were looking to discontinue its use as it was costing them money in rent. They had an opportunity to move some of their site equipment to another location and increase the capacity and efficiency of the factory floor process while optimising flow. Having met the WMG SME Group at a Made in the Midlands event, Lanemark sought support to tap into its expertise in process improvement.
The WMG SME Group set out to review and improve the high-level process. They sought to identify quick wins and timescales for prioritisation.
A Value Stream Assessment (VSA) was conducted with Lanemark’s management team and it provided a critical examination of the current end-to-end processes and identified opportunities for improvement and innovation. Examples of the work undertaken includes:
- Production line walks and collection of data on processes to provide advice about improvements and guidance for optimising and developing tooling.
- Documenting current product and process material flow from order receipt through to dispatch and invoicing to produce a string diagram of current state.
- Engagement of stakeholders from the production process to develop a block plan for best flow through the factory space.
- Identifying the main bottlenecks and quick wins and providing short- and long-term solutions based on Lean principles.
- Establishing a new production planning information area, to give better visibility of workload and daily tasks.
- Creating ground-level stores using a new U-shaped layout for optimal efficiency.
- As a result of this work, Lanemark has gained over 25% efficiency in labour hours, saving around £50,000 per year.
- More space on the mezzanine has enabled the company to move their equipment out of a storage unit saving them approximately £3,000 per year in rent.
- Improved material flow processes from ‘Goods in’ to ‘Goods out’ has reduced cycle times and distance travelled.
- Health and safety has improved due to clearer work areas and gangways.
Alan Thompson, Operations Director, Lanemark Combustion Engineering Ltd, commented: “Improvements are still a work in progress with more changes to be made, but each time we make an improvement we spot further opportunities for improvement. The trick is to keep the ball moving. We really enjoyed working with WMG and couldn’t recommend them enough.”
Onur Eren, Innovation Manager, WMG, added: “Lanemark has a great dynamic team, and were really open to examining processes and discussing improvements. We can’t wait to see what they do next”.
Lanemark has now enrolled onto a WMG SME Group Sustainable Production Innovation Network (SPIN) Cohort, a network of small businesses sharing best practice on sustainable production. For more information on Cohorts, email Helena Simmonds on: H.C.C.Simmonds@warwick.ac.uk