V2 Campers Built per Week 1/17-1/31: 5
Remember when we announced that lead times were shortening and we gave you updated timelines? If you happened to be keeping track you might have noticed that we were building a lot more than 5 units a week before the v2 launch. So are we screwed? Well, I sure hope not.
The truth is that things are going great, with expected levels of difficulty to be sure.
A little background. There are over 600 components in every V2 GFC camper, and only 21 of them are carried over from the V1 camper. That means that 579 of these parts are brand new and involve all-new manufacturing/procuring, communication, and assembly systems to result in a complete camper.But building more campers is primarily a function of… well… building more campers. Right? So what makes building it more harder?
You’d be right at the most basic level. But that doesn’t do service to everything around the assembly process. We need tools to make sure that time in our machine and sew shops are being properly utilized. We need to make sure that parts are getting QC’d in process, and that everyone at every level has the directive and tools they need in order to hit the numbers we are shooting for. Not just for targets in the coming week, but building systems strong enough to not break when we quadruple output in Q2 2021. And then to hit those same numbers and peak quality week after week after week.
We could go into the weeds here on how these best practices are developed, but you have a weekend to get back to.
- For those of you that are interested, a great resource that we are taking inspiration from is the Toyota Production System (TPS).
An area where implementation of TPS is most readily obvious is in the final assembly department. In TPS, the term “Jidoka” means to make the equipment or operation stop whenever an abnormal or defective condition arises. The intentional rate of 5 units per week allows us to stop for every possible Jidoka and step back to resolve problems at the level they arise. Because these processes are all new at this scale, we are able to determine what might even constitute a defective or abnormal condition, and work to solve it at the base level.
Layout carts encase all of the small components, each camper is only allotted the exact amount of components required to be built. If anything atypical arises, replacement components can be requested from the parts department, but not without documentation of what happened to cause Jidoka.
In most assembly facilities, you might see folks using hand tools to massage their products into submission to get parts to fit correctly. Because we are using precision manufacturing tools at every level, there is no close. It is only right or wrong. And assembly has been instructed to fail any part that needs physical modification by way of material adjustment or removal.
This might seem unnecessary for getting campers out the door at current rates, or even at a pretty decent manufacturing clip. But when those numbers get big and we take steps to quadruple output, that twenty minutes filing one of the machined tubes here and there becomes untenable, and production is limited before it even had the chance to scale.
Each extrusion cart has slots cut out of exact shapes and extrusion profiles for each camper. This allows for immediate visual QC and task management without needing to cross-reference other materials
This constant striving for consistency also pushes the long term goal of the pursuit of perfection. There is now no questioning as to whether or not you had the “good” assembly employee be the one to modify the faulty part. There is no faulty part, and the variability of human error is decreased significantly. We are also able to have better employee utilization long term, and continue to improve the pay of everyone on the team here at the shop because we are able to become extremely efficient in a camper output/employee ratio.
An extrusion cart that gets passed from machine town to assembly. Each employee at the company is directly responsible for the success of their own process as well as the larger picture. Giving individual responsibility allows for the elimination of inefficient middle management and rapid feedback for process improvement
Superlite- Made in USA more than you think!
In an effort to maintain transparency about our internationally sourced components on the superlite, we think we have downplayed just how much of it is made in the USA.
A lot of folks lately have had questions about the manufacturing process behind this new tent, and we think you guys are going to be stoked on just how much of this is not only domestically sourced, but manufactured on our CNC machines right here in Montana.
Because this is a pretty extensive topic to cover, we will be releasing a video next Monday the 8th of February. Sign up for our newsletter here in order to be kept up to speed with continued manufacturing updates as well as other projects we are working on out here.
Have a great week, and as always hit us up with any questions at email@example.com