Client: Nobleza - Piccardo, Argentina

The Summary

With HMC's help, this South American tobacco plant was able to increase productivity, while reducing waste-in just a matter of 60 days. These aggressive results were achieved through the creation and implementation of new procedures that improved maintenance operations, scheduling, and training. As a result, they became one of the most efficient plants in the holding company's worldwide operations.


The Challenge
This British American Tobacco company had installed two "new technology" cigarette-making and -packing lines, one had been operating for nearly a year, the other was just being commissioned. In addition, they had purchased and were in the process of installing three more of these high-speed lines in the coming nine months. They had been able to achieve high efficiencies on older technology lines, however, because of the complexity, speed, tighter material tolerances, and highly sophisticated electronic systems in the new lines, the efficiencies on new lines were in a decline. The machines were deteriorating and rejects were increasing dramatically due to the lack of knowledge.

The Approach
The
HMC team conducted a thorough diagnostic of the company's processes and procedures over the course of several weeks in order to determine the root causes of the problems. Additionally, the team conducted an in-depth study on raw material waste to understand the source of the problem and resolve it, leading to a significant reduction in waste.The diagnostic helped HMC create a plan of action for restructuring the technical operations of all the new equipment, implementing new maintenance and cleaning procedures, designing more efficient schedules and establishing a long term training plan. HMC also set-up new procedures for materials monitoring and developed the infrastructure to achieve continuous improvement. Using new dynamic standard operating procedures (DSOPs) Nobleza achieved significant levels of improvement and by applying these DSOPs to new lines the target performance levels were achieved.

The Results
Within nine months the efficiency on
the two original "new technology lines" had improved by 12 and 14% above the baseline taken at the start of the project. The three newly installed lines achieved and maintained the same high levels of efficiency only sixty days after they were commissioned. In addition, raw material waste was reduced by 60%. The new processes were successfully implemented on all additional lines ("old technology") by training the supervisors and operators on the new procedures. Systems and infrastructure were left in place which will generate further improvements.

Post Project Work
Nobleza went on to restucture their entire operation with the support of the
HMC team. Most recently HMC used the same techniques to identify improvement opportunities in the graphics department, the tobacco processing plant, and in filter rod manufacture. Nobleza is now enjoying an increase of 40% in productivity. They became one of the most efficient production units in BAT and leaders in the world on the use of their new technology.

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