In response to 2009 customer demand, Iowa Laser Technology (www.iowalaser.com) has added a non-traditional shift to deliver more capacity and lead time reductions.
Iowa Laser announced its 3rd shift operations in late 2008. The 12-hour shift runs 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday, allowing workers a sleek 3-day schedule while decreasing total operational downtime from 36% to 31%. Based on early performance reviews, the new shift also decreased lead times across the board by 2 days or more.
With a 1st and 2nd shift already encompassing 20 hours/day, a 3rd daily shift for Iowa Laser was impossible. Reducing 1st and 2nd shifts to 8 hours and adding a 3rd shift did not satisfy forecasting models. Management expanded the box by looking at weekly downtime opportunities and decided a weekend shift fit perfectly with customer needs in 2009.