Project Title: An investigation into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the office furniture industry, and the subsequent opportunities presented to the company to improve manufacturing efficiencies.
The purpose of the project was to identify how the pandemic could affect the future of the office furniture industry. In addition, how the company could adapt to ensure it remained sustainable and competitive. Despite the global presence of the company, sales and hence profits had reduced. The project aimed to identify ways to fulfil the needs of the customer; ensuring it could be done efficiently. The literature review focussed on the impact of the pandemic on the industry.
Lean manufacturing techniques were reviewed; techniques such as the kano model, mass customization, postponement strategies and training within industry were explored. This centred around how production is scheduled, whilst considering product complexity, process demand and bottlenecks. Data such as cycle times, takt times and previous work studies were analysed to help identify where improvements were necessary. Findings indicated positive steps are being taken to reduce the amount of inventory, utilise techniques such as Kanban and FIFO systems and implementing different manufacturing strategies. In order for this to be truly effective, the approach must be company-wide.
Further work is required to improve the overall efficiency, starting with the product development process, and the way in which new products are progressed to launch.
Having completed my BTEC, HNC and HND qualifications the course offered a fantastic opportunity to expand my knowledge of manufacturing and mechanical engineering. The course covered a wide range of both mechanical and manufacturing disciplines giving opportunity to enhance a broad range of skills. The modules explored advanced technologies and principles needed for future development within the industry. The modules of the course were interesting and recognized the improvements being brought about due to social, environmental and financial considerations.
The university offers a state-of-the-art campus on the Swansea waterfront which has recently benefitted from £300m investment. This allows access to modern facilities and technologies such as CAD. The engineering department has a great deal of experience, including staff which have worked across various roles within the engineering field. The major advantage to me personally was the university’s ability to offer the program part time, which fitted around my work commitments.
I hope to be able to implement the skills and knowledge from the course into practical applications within my workplace. I hope accreditation from the degree program will allow me to progress further within my career and build upon the experience I have already gained within the industry.