Our client’s healthy order book meant that production was under pressure and struggling to meet demand. An initial investigation by our client pointed to a potential bottleneck within the slicing department which would require more in-depth investigation.
Addressing this bottleneck became a key priority for, not least to safeguard relationships built up with customers over many years.
Identify and resolve root-causes responsible for the bottleneck in the slicing department
Identify, quantify and implement solutions to other issues found within the department and supporting areas
Improve OEE by 20% (44%-53%)
Design and implement a new manufacturing planning process and tool
An in-depth assessment of the slicing department identified several factors which were contributing to the bottleneck. This included equipment reliability issues linked to ineffective maintenance and the maintenance organisation. Other weaknesses were identified in shop-floor management, including the management of labour and the absence of any systematic performance improvement. In addition the assessment identified opportunities to reduce give-away and improve material yield. This was linked partially to planning and scheduling issues which was causing problems linked to ‘best-before dates’.
The design phase focussed on a combination of process, organisational and behavioural improvements. Working closely with our client from shop-floor to process-owner level, key improvements were made to the maintenance process as well as the structure of the maintenance department to improve support to the shop-floor.
A new production planning tool was developed in combination with principles of demand-pull planning which resulted in larger lot sizes being manufactured. This reduced the required number of changeovers and set-ups in addition to reducing raw material and finished goods inventory levels.
Shop-floor leadership moved from passive to active with improved management of staff and more focussed management of continuous improvement through more effective use of KPIs and problem-solving.