What is the Kitting Process?
The kitting process refers to the collection of a specific group of parts or materials that are needed in order to manufacture a certain item. Rather than supplying each part separately, they are “kitted” together to form one full set of materials with its own SKU number.
The kitting process may take place at the factory itself- either as part of the production process itself or as a separate side-process – or it can be provided by a third-party logistics company. Kitting can help speed up the production process and make it run more efficiently.
Examples of the Kitting Process
Manufacturers of products that require a large number of small parts or those that do not have a lot of space to store large supplies of individual parts will often use the kitting process to get the parts they need in a more efficient and space-saving way.
Kitting is also beneficial when there is an element of customization. For example, dental implant manufacturers have to produce a large volume of implants, but each one is customized to the specific patient. They can use the kitting process to make sure that the base parts are all ready to go and then the customizations can be added as needed.
Car manufacturers also tend to use kitting, especially when it comes to adding the car features that customers might want to customize like the seat upholstery or trim.
Benefits of the Kitting Process
The kitting process provides manufacturers with benefits that include the following:
- Increased storage space – especially for those manufacturers with limited space as well as those focusing on a lean production model, the kitting process reduces the amount of space needed for keeping large amounts of spare parts. When third-party companies provide the kitting, the manufacturer can get the bundles of parts as needed rather than take up space storing them on-site.
- More efficient production – the kitting process puts pre-assembled parts directly into the assembly line, saving time that would otherwise be spent by factory operators collecting the individual components needed to complete the product.
- Easier inventory management – each individual raw material that goes into a product has to be tagged and assigned a SKU. This information is used to track the amount of inventory to know when new parts need to be ordered, etc. When there are so many small parts needed, this process can become very onerous and overly complicated. By bundling certain small parts together into one “kit” and assigning the entire thing one SKU, the process is made much simpler and it is easier to track and manage inventory.
- Increased profits – any tool that helps make the production process more efficient can ultimately lead to increased profitability, and kitting is no exception.
How to Improve the Kitting Process
While many manufacturers rely on the kitting process and the benefits are many, it can also present some challenges, especially when done manually. The manual kitting process requires workers to gather the relevant components and assemble them into the kit. There is a lot of room for human error which can end up slowing down the production process instead of improving it.
Using software to help manage the kitting process can automate the tracking of the relevant parts and ensure that each bundle contains the right pieces.