Case Study

Error-Proof Assembly Package Saves Time, Money and Headaches

Situation

Meridian Products provided aluminum hardware and trim for a refrigerator manufacturer OEM.  One item, a decorative, aluminum mullion, included an install kit for the end user. Under normal conditions, the homeowner, or a delivery person, would install the trim piece to the front of the refrigerator by using a provided Allen wrench, fasteners and an instruction sheet. These items were sealed in a plastic assembly kit and included in a solid cardboard container, along with the mullion.

Challenge

The problem, or challenge, occurred during the normal inspection and sorting process. Individual hand inspections, made by opening the container, confirmed the presence of the install kit. The process was labor intensive, but the potential for diminished goodwill was high. End users without the necessary assembly kit would have to determine a way to affix the mullion without the benefit of accompanying parts and instructions. Anyone ever assembling a purchased product, and not finding all the parts, can appreciate the level of frustration.

Solution

Meridian Products engineers devised a simple, but innovative solution to confirm the presence of the install kit. A window was cut into the cardboard box and a see-through plastic window was affixed to the opening.  Care was taken to assure that the “window cut” maintained the integrity of the container box. Quality control could then easily and quickly check for the components before shipping to the original equipment manufacturer.

Result

The new error-proofing solution allowed assembly lines to move much faster and the possibility of missing components was virtually eliminated. Besides eliminating the potential for end user frustration, the OEM calculated the solution to deliver significant time and cost savings. The time savings was estimated in 5 minute increments and was between 5 to 20 minutes savings of potential assembly line downtime. The operation of checking the window saved the step of opening boxes, potentially finding a discrepant packed box, and replacing with box which was “checked as good” into the bill of materials. Downtime dollars saved, plus service calls dollars saved, was in the range of $10-20,000.

Final thoughts

Meridian Products understands that every second counts in the manufacturing of metal-formed products, and that every customer experience is critically important. Contact us to learn how we can deliver the steel, aluminum and wire products and services you deserve.