To achieve our goals of optimizing costs and asset management, we broadened the application of ‘lean’ principles, introduced new technologies, insourced parts of the supply chain, and streamlined distribution. To help mitigate the impact of the strong Swiss franc we increased production in the USA. These measures together led to productivity gains and improved asset utilization on top of the prior year’s impressive achievement and with minimal capital expenditure.
Our main production center in Villeret, Switzerland, covers the full range of components in our dental implant system. In 2012, the site achieved a 9% increase in productivity, thanks to a consistent ‘lean’ approach. We again succeeded in keeping the workforce stable at approximately 350 and, in addition to increasing output by nearly 10% to 6.8 million parts, we managed to shorten lead times in almost all areas.
In Andover, we introduced a shop-floor management process based on ‘lean’ principles and the Villeret model. This improved productivity by 14%. Output also rose 14% to 3.2 million parts, while the workforce remained stable at 110. In addition, the scope of manufacturing was expanded to include the surface treatment of Bone Level implants and packaging of sterile healing caps. Andover has now reached the same technical capability level as Villeret.
Our Malmö (Sweden) facility, which specializes in regenerative products, employs a team of 35. In the year under review, it also completed an insourcing project, qualifying its new automated filling and labeling line and validating the process for manufacturing all products in-house. These initiatives will significantly Reaping the benefits of ‘lean’ principles reduce both costs and lead times.
Our CADCAM prosthetics are produced in Markkleeberg (Germany) and Arlington (USA). The extension of Markkleeberg allowed us to redesign our workflows using ‘lean’ principles. Each of the two levels in the building was devoted to a complete value stream (one floor for cobalt chrome products and one for ceramics). We also introduced an automated continuous flow system that handles milled elements individually. This and a new accelerated sintering process enable us to provide a next-day delivery service for restorations ordered before 2 p.m.
We are in the process of equipping Arlington with similar robotic technology to meet future demand for our CADCAM abutments.