Quality Improvement and Lead Time Reduction in Oil and Gas Industry

A manufacturer of dehydrators used on natural gas well heads was experiencing quality and delivery issues due to turnover and a lack of training of their people. In response to these issues, they trained several dozen people on the 4-Step JI method of instruction and chose to initially focus on improving the first time quality of their manufacturing process. A small process improvement team went to their final inspection hold area to determine what were the main defects created by the process. Tracing the root cause of the errors back up stream to the individual tasks and processes that created the defects, they analyzed these activities using the Job Breakdown format. What they found was that a task that originally took 6 hours, and often times resulted in multiple defects, only took 4.5 hours after doing the breakdown. The process of developing the breakdown identified and allowed for removal of waste activities as well as developing a training tool for improving their quality. These results were repeated on the next operation analyzed; the cycle time of the task was reduced from 2.5 hours to 1 hour. After training was conducted, the defects from these processes were eliminated as well. Additionally, the lead time quoted for a dehydrator dropped from 4 weeks to just over one week providing a huge competitive advantage over the competition. The leadership of the organization has since implemented a process of reviewing daily the defects created in the previous 24 hours and having a process improvement team analyze the root cause task or process using the Job Breakdown format to identify and eliminate waste and retrain the fabricators on the improved process.

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