Global companies are constantly eyeing new ways to expedite their product development process and make the entire logistics chain more effective and efficient. Sometimes, a company needs to be challenged in order to reach a new breakthrough in its logistics process and delivery time.
At RMA, taking on challenges is in our DNA. We look at them as ways to break new grounds.
The Sri Lanka Ambulance Project
When RMA Turkey was contacted by the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health to modify 250 Ford Transit vans and deliver the fleet to Sri Lanka within a three month period from October to December 2018, we stepped up to the plate.
The project presented a multitude of opportunities. It was a chance to support the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health with sturdy yet agile ambulances. It also gave us at RMA Automotive the opportunity to showcase our global product development capabilities.
Our modifications needed to contain everything for paramedics to carry out emergency services and patient transportation. This meant replacing the traditional van seating with a medical area, including a patient stretcher, an area for medical devices, attendant seating and a wash basin, to name a few. On top of that, we added special medical equipment from a suction pump and ventilator to a portable oxygen therapy kit.
This would be the biggest project that we’ve ever worked on. In fact, the last time RMA Turkey tackled a delivery this large was when we modified 188 vehicles for TACOM in 2013.
The Capacity Crunch
As the project unraveled, we realized we had a rather daunting mountain to climb. There had been a several-month delay before we got the final order to proceed, but the delivery deadline remained unchanged.
On top of that, we faced a shortage of floor space at the RMA Turkey plant to produce the sheer volume of vehicles needed. We weren’t going to risk interrupting our other projects either – every customer would be receiving their delivery on time.
The other big hurdle we faced was a shortage of qualified technicians. Burak Demirtas spearheaded the project with Peter Lawson and they knew there was no room to panic – work needed to be done, and quick.
All Hands on Deck
It’s times like these when the people of RMA come together to make magic happen. Tapping into our vast global manufacturing expertise, here’s the solution we came up with:
- Fixing the space issue: We rented factory space near the Istanbul plant to modify more vehicles for this project while still continuing our work on existing customer orders at the original plant.
- Addressing labor shortage: We outsourced additional skilled technicians to meet the production demands. Everyone put forth an “all hands on deck” attitude, staying in after work hours and on the weekend to get the project done. This was a shining example of teamwork at its best. We were proud to see this new level of collaboration.
- Skill building: Engineers were taught how to use new software and the volume at which ambulances were being built began increasing steadily.
Utilizing all of RMA Group’s resources to their full effect, we were able to output five vehicles a day while keeping quality, safety and lean manufacturing at the forefront. Thanks to all this, 150 vehicles were delivered by the end of November and the remaining 100 in early January. A handover ceremony was held in Sri Lanka, attended by our team and the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health. These extremely sturdy yet agile Ford Transit ambulances will be distributed to 132 hospitals across Sri Lanka.
Stronger Than Ever
The entire team truly achieved a lot together. We had a huge project on our plate, with some mishaps in the chain of communication cascading into scheduling issues. In spite of this, we completed the project on time without neglecting any of our other customers. Instead, we put our focus on high-quality, lean production and leveraged the principles of manufacturing to reach volumes that have never been achieved in the past.
In the end, we were willing to offer services to meet our customer’s needs in terms of product and lead time. We look forward to facing more challenges in the future as a team that understands each other better than ever.