Kaizen team boosts packaging operation OEE by 66.5%

Overall equipment efficiency (OEE) gains from renewed focus and speed

By Mike Beauregard May 20, 2022
Courtesy: CFE Media and Technology

Using a Kaizen event as a catalyst, an international manufacturer of construction materials lowered the cycle time per pallet of its commercial liquids packaging line by more than 35%.

Kaizen, i.e., continuous Improvement, or translated from Japanese, change for the good, is a strategy where employees at all levels of a company work together proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements to the manufacturing process.

员工团队通常合作分析问题,然后进行测试并提出改进建议。改善活动通常持续3到5天,将一个团队集中在一个挑战上,并改进现有的流程。

The idea is to use focus and speed to achieve breakthroughs that support overall improvements. As with other Lean and Six Sigma strategies, businesses should make Kaizen events a routine part of their long-range improvement plans.

The company’s commercial liquids packaging line produces its oldest products. These products are kits of liquid construction materials with application and clean-up components included. With margins dwindling due to competitive pressures and raw material cost escalation, the company needed to increase the productivity of the line to restore its level of profitability.

该公司试图将生产线产量提高15% - 20%,并将整体设备效率(OEE)从61%提高到至少70%。为了实现这一目标,生产线的改善团队需要了解整个过程。他们寻找机会消除浪费的步骤,提高产量。

Findings from the Kaizen team

The Kaizen team’s observations identified many areas of waste. There was no standardization on how the packaging line was set up or run by the two manufacturing teams that each worked a daily 10-hour shift. Pallets in the work area were not staged near where their contents were used in packaging, requiring extra time to move pallets out of the way to position other pallets. The layout of the line’s packaging operation extended the operator’s walk to palletize the finished goods.

The operators and material handler were not informed of the next product that would be produced on the line, so they were not prepared. This extended the changeover time between products. Roller conveyors and rails were not adequately maintained. This required the operators to individually handle each box, which decreased productivity.

In addition, the operation had ergonomic issues. It required too much twisting and bending to load materials into the finished goods boxes.

Actions taken from the Kaizen team

After mapping out the existing workflow and observing areas for improvement, the team brainstormed a new workflow map. They cleaned up the work area and positioned pallets of kit boxes and components near their use points. They moved the overall packaging operation closer to the palletizing area. They tested different arrangements and operational sequences to determine the best approach. Once the team identified a best approach, they temporarily marked and labeled areas for the pallets with tape. Permanent identification and placement lines for the pallets will be painted after the operators work with the layout and determine what adjustments are needed.

After mapping out the existing workflow and observing areas for improvement, the team brainstormed a new workflow map.

After mapping out the existing workflow and observing areas for improvement, the team brainstormed a new workflow map. Courtesy: Daniel Penn Associates

Then, withDaniel Penn Associatesfacilitator Mike Beauregard, they researched and recommended equipment to further automate the process. The new equipment will eliminate potential injuries from the operator bending and twisting. It will also eliminate the need to pre-label and open kit boxes before they’re placed on the conveyer to be filled. Maintenance members of the team reviewed the conveyor system and created a plan for repairs to the existing conveyors and their rails and for increased preventive maintenance activities.

After mapping out the existing workflow and observing areas for improvement, the team brainstormed a new workflow map.

After mapping out the existing workflow and observing areas for improvement, the team brainstormed a new workflow map. Courtesy: Daniel Penn Associates

Results

使用团队选择的布局和工作方法,周期时间下降到13到14分钟每个托盘,减少了35%以上,基于3天以上和90天审计后的样品测量。团队尝试的其他布局和方法导致每个托盘的周期从18分钟到27分钟不等,所以这些选项被放弃了。采用新的方法和布局,改善活动的最后一天的第一个班次的OEE增加到87.7%。三个月后,两个班次的平均OEE为87.6%,较52.6%的基线提高了66.5%,也远高于公司70%的目标。这是通过实施改善活动中确定的26个改善想法中的8个来实现的。

Going forward

A master plan of all generated improvement ideas is in place. Team members were assigned open action items with a completion date.

自动化设备支持包括在未来的过程中。这种自动化将消除潜在的伤害来源,消除标签和打开盒子。一旦完成,这些将进一步改善周期时间和在线OEE,并提高了线上操作人员的安全性。

After their hands-on work to reduce cycle time and increase OEE, the company’s kaizen team learned that:

  • 有了更好的布局,可以在更短/更小的面积生产更多的产品。
  • 减少活动会降低受伤的几率。
  • Walking takes up more time than we realize. The goal is to reduce travel.
  • 头脑越聪明越好:两班的团队成员都对新流程做出了贡献。
  • Never say no – there’s always a solution.
  • Everyone’s questions and input are valuable. Never be afraid to speak up.
  • Change is good. There’s always room for improvement.

Daniel Penn Associatesis a CFE Media and Technology content partner.


Mike Beauregard
Author Bio:Mike Beauregard是Daniel Penn Associates的国际顾问。