This company was faced with the challenge of transforming its manufacturing
operations to become more responsive to consumers. In order to do this,
it had to invest in a new facility. This new facility was charged with
supporting small lot sizes and responding to fast-changing consumer
demands in the U.K. and other countries.
The new plant was producing at full capacity,
seven days a week-however, since brands were being built up so quickly
with high actual volumes-demand wasn't being met. The wide variety of
bottle shapes, labels, and label positions required extensive equipment
changeover each week. To meet target production costs and achieve desired
efficiency levels, plant managers concluded that the changeovers needed
to be more efficient.
The company hired HMC
to do a comprehensive analysis of its entire operation in an effort
to increase bottling line efficiencies and achieve sustainable improvements.
To understand the entire manufacturing process and to identify the major
causes of inefficiency, the HMC team initiated
an extensive diagnostic analysis of the bottling process. The analysis
included statistical measurements, interviews with production and management
personnel, and a review of the bottling procedures. Moreover, behavior
routines and key production variability were closely monitored over
a 3 week period, 24 hours a day seven days a week. Live, minute-to-minute
data was captured and recorded, along with the nature and frequency
of interruptions and the variability of output.
Armed with such detailed information, HMC
was able to pinpoint the causes of lost production in the changeover
process. Additionally, they discovered that there was no system in place
to ensure changeovers were standardized and consistent. HMC
devised and implemented standard procedures that immediately reduced
downtime and greatly improved changeover efficiency.
team also learned that maintenance procedures were inefficient and unstructured
causing longer than necessary machine downtime for repair. Again, HMC
devised and implemented a new maintenance scheduling system and control
systems that freed up craftsmen to work on more complex problems and
gave machine operators more responsibility for their machines. They
further developed new roles for management, supervisors and technical
support, so that communication between shifts improved and a focus was
shifted to "line performance" rather than "shift performance"-a
subtle yet important change.
Lastly, the HMC
team implemented improvements in the management of materials that led
to better supplier relationships and elimination of many nuisance problems
that previously plagued the bottling operation. They also developed
a modular training format using the best methods to speed up changeovers
and to ensure smooth line operations.
As a result of HMC's
holistic approach to solving these problems, the
new plant achieved a sustainable improvement of 30% in their bottling
lines, well over the target of 22%. The
plant continues to maintain operational excellence and their methods
are being implemented in other plants within the Brewery. The essential
ingredient to sustained success had been the involvement of operators
in the development of baseline procedures, to ensure personal ownership,
commitment, and accountability for the new ways of working.