Client: Cigarrera Bigott, Venezuela


The Summary

The HMC team diagnosed and corrected a variety of problems that plagued production, resulting in a significant output and efficiency increase for this South American cigarette maker. HMC helped to devise and implement new procedures that improved communication and enabled faster response times to production problems, and sufficiently trained the companies' staff to ensure these results would be maintained long-term.

 

"Working side by side with the HMC team has resulted in improvements of 10% to 12%. Their training techniques have helped us to greatly improve our internal communications, procedures, discipline, and follow up."

— Nixon Mendoza, Head of Maintenance
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"HMC really put their money where their mouth is. They promised that they could help increase our productivity and they delivered. Before they came on board one machine was making less than 7 million cigarettes a day. And now, thanks to them, that same machine is making close to 10 million a day!

Hector Casco, Production Director for Cigarrera Bigott
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"When the project first began we immediately saw a radical change in the company. There's more control over the process and there are procedures in place that make our jobs easier — we didn't have that before."

Angel Lopez, Mechanic


 

The Challenge
Although this company was seeing improvement in some of its production processes, as well as cost savings and increased output-they had a variety of other problems where they could not determine the root causes and therefore could find long-term solutions. They hired HMC to help them identify the causes of their production variations and implement a fix that would further increase production efficiency and achieve sustainable improvements.

The Approach
The first step HMC took was to identify variations in output by running a detailed diagnostic on the entire production process. Every activity was measured and recorded, paying particular attention to documenting problems and inconsistencies on the line, no matter how small or trivial they seemed. This process continued for several weeks, giving the HMC team an immense amount of valuable information with which to assess the production process and the inter-relationships between numerous production variables. The diagnostic uncovered the major sources of the factory's problems and helped HMC identify key target areas for improvement. It also helped to identify the causes of variation in outputs. By putting the production line "under the microscope," the team was able to get a sense of the entire manufacturing process.

HMC took the process even further by reviewing maintenance schedules, repair and cleaning procedures, and even training. The procedures that the HMC team devised and implemented at Cigarrera Bigott have been aggregated into a list of "Ten Commandments" for production personnel, that everyone now adheres to.

Crucial to the success of the project was the revamping of the companies production training programs. Supervisors are now involved in employee training, which is helping them to better understand the manufacturing processes and personnel. It is also enabling them to incorporate standardized training on machine operations. This has had a great impact on reducing production variations.

The Results
The work that was done with Cigarrera Bigott led to increased outputs and efficiency improvements of 10-12%. Working directly with the Bigott staff, HMC was able to reduce cycle times and increase the yield, while facilitating a philosophical change on the factory floor — enabling shifts to work together to solve problems. Cigarrera Bigott management particularly liked the fact that the HMC team worked together with their personnel and stayed on the factory floor until the problems were successfully resolved.

The HMC team went on to train the Cigarrera Bigott staff on the processes and methodologies that were implemented so that the results would be sustainable and transferable. These improvements can now be incorporated into other production facilities as desired. HMC not only provided added value to this client, but also delivered measurable results, by changing the technologies and human systems so that changes can be maintained long-term. For Cigarrera Bigott, the improvements were seen directly in the bottom line!

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