After a lot of planning, trialling, scrapping, and planning again we've got a flowline down for the fulfilment of the Pocket Drivers that is just dreamy.
When we first implemented the flowline process we looked into process engineering and even got some outside help to look for the best way to utilise our small team during fulfilment. The flowline approach sits somewhere between batch manufacturing and assembly line manufacturing, and creates a hybrid process that's perfect for what we're trying to achieve, while eliminating room for error.
The flowline is an approach where the unit in work is moved in a number of discrete steps. Each step is called a station and each station has a number of predefined steps to be performed at each point. The tooling for each activity is held at each station, eliminating the need for changes in set-up. The work piece is moved from station to station when the work is complete. The work performed at each station is planned and timed so that each station completes at the same time and then the line can increment along.
We knew that the space we had to work with was limited, so in preparation we've built up components en-masse so we can go for a 'pick and pack' flowline approach. Each order will be handled individually, first at the picking station where each colour-coded component is checked and bundled, before the crew at the shipping station check and pack the order and process the shipping. We're expecting to handle about 500 orders a week, and that's not accounting for our usual work day. Our two-man team have got their work cut out for them!
We've tried to make this as smooth as possible; taking inspiration from colour coded climbing pathways and the quick-change approach used by Formula One pit crews to pick orders and cycle through our component stores, we're hoping to make this the most efficient fulfilment we've ever done!
There was a lot of admin to make this as clean as possible, from sorting orders and matching up backer numbers, to removing stray umlauts that the shipping software doesn't like and this has taken a few of the team months to sort through and organise. Ultimately it was all in preparation for this final step of getting the Pocket Driver pledges out to our backers, and we couldn't have done any of it without you!
Efficiency is key, but this also means we're able to keep everything high quality and precise- and isn't that what MetMo is all about?