SVP Global Operations
Global manufacturing company
This was a business that had suffered the catastrophic effects after failing an external audit of its most critical quality systems. The company was paralysed by an overzealous quality function and the fear that it would lose some of its best customers if it wasn’t seen to be implementing good practice. Unfortunately, the preoccupation with quality systems and processes had led to a significant fall in productivity, down to around 17% for the production line and 26% for the small batch facility. Most of the lost production time was generated during set-up and start-up where activity stopped whilst the product was checked for defects.
Staff were demoralised due to endless form filling and waiting for various levels of authorisation to begin production. The subsequent effect was that machinery employed in the production processes never really got started causing a high level of breakdowns and, ironically, poor quality!
The senior team required a logical, scientific way of improving productivity whilst maintaining product quality. Within the batch production area, the set-up process was cumbersome and over bureaucratic. Start-up was interrupted whilst product quality and line parameters were constantly checked.
The consulting team analysed this in detail and a more effective process was subsequently developed and installed. Within the line production facility, cycle-time was reduced by 40% by undertaking certain key tasks in parallel rather than in series. Shift patterns were modified to ensure maximum utilisation of the machinery.
Shop floor teams were formed and encouraged to observe their own changeovers and implement improvements.
In measurable productivity terms, OEE improved from around 17% for the line production to 40%. Batch production OEE rose from 26% to 44%.
The more important element of the assignment was that the company was freed from its self-imposed straight jacket of bureaucracy and was able to continue making improvements themselves after the assignment had finished.