Pilgrim Screw manufactures hundreds of varieties of screws, bolts, special fasteners and other unique hardware in Chandler. They specialize in Military and Aerospace specifications AN/MS/NAS threaded fasteners. Pilgrim’s quality system is certified to both AS9100D and ISO9001:2015.
One of their bolts is used in Military helicopter blades and is one of their most profitable product lines. Their commitment to continuous improvement and total customer satisfaction led the company to embark on a Value Stream Mapping (VSM) project to reduce the lead time on this bolt. The lead time was about average for the industry; however, it had been years since the original manufacturing process had been planned and the team felt there were opportunities to streamline it. Jason Grove, Pilgrim’s Chief Operating Officer, enlisted RevAZ to lead the VSM project.
To kickoff the project, RevAZ and Pilgrim’s team members from production, quality, operations, customer service and planning departments mapped the current process. The map provided a high-level visual representation of the entire process from order taking to final shipment including time spent waiting on suppliers and equipment. The mapping process consisted of documenting the tasks and the cycle time it takes to do each. “During this time, the goal was to capture all of the tasks, but not to comment on whether they are or are not valuable,” said Jim Godfrey, one of RevAZ’s lean manufacturing experts.
When the map was complete the total time for tasks that add value was subtracted from the total cycle time. The remaining time represented tasks that provided no value to the customer. The map confirmed that a significant amount of time was spent waiting on equipment, parts from suppliers, and duplicate tasks. During the next day the team mapped a new process which focused on reducing wait time and eliminating duplicate tasks. This was achieved by asking the team if the non-value added activities were necessary, or if they could be eliminated without unintended consequences, or could be done more efficiently.
The VSM project focused Pilgrim’s attention on addressing wait time and eliminating tasks that were a result of thinking that “we have always done it this way” instead of objectively examining those habits. “The Value Stream Mapping project reduced our lead time by 40% for one of our most profitable product lines,” said Grove. “We continue to use the tools and exercises learned with many of our other product lines.”
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