250% increase in throughput in one season
Cedenco Hastings was established in 1986 and is a fruit and vegetable processing facility with locations in Hawkes Bay and Tairawhiti. They are a seasonal operation with additional staff during the busy harvest and processing months.
This study focuses on two production areas in the Hastings site:
- Hastings Food Ingredients (HFI), which produces diced and sliced apples,
- Apple Juice Concentrate (AJC)
Over the previous few years, there had been a steady and significant decline in overall yield. A new Operational Leadership team in November 2021 wanted to turn this trend around and asked Productivity People to help unlock capability in both its people and the factory.
Business Process Managment
Huntly Door Systems (HDS) is a New Zealand-based company that specializes in the manufacture of internal doors and supply of hardware. The company was established in 1978 and has grown to become a well-respected name in the industry, both in New Zealand and international.
Despite its growth and success, the company remains committed to its roots, maintaining a strong focus on quality, service, and customer satisfaction.
An inevitable part of the success and growth of the company has been that the systems and processes behind the operation have become rather complex. They either have not kept up with growth or have been added in a somewhat haphazard way over the years as operations expand and personnel change.
Although the process was working, there were too many steps. Several of these involved going back and forward between departments. An additional complication was that much of the ‘how it works’ was in people’s heads. Always an issue if there is any form of turnover.
Meeting Growing Market Demand
Bluelab Corporation is a kiwi success story. For the last thirty years they have made the measurements tools that help fruit and vegetable growers achieve exceptional crop and yield. Based in Tauranga, New Zealand, they have become an international brand with offices in the United States and in Europe.
In late 2019 Bluelab had taken the decision to expand their production facility in Tauranga and work had begun when the first Covid lockdown happened. They experienced the same uncertainty as most organisations. However, one of the unforeseen consequences of the global pandemic was the recognition by people internationally to ensure their food supply. Demand for the Bluelab tools exploded.
This demand increase meant that over a few months Bluelab doubled their production capacity, completed a new production facility and warehouse, and recruited a second shift to start a seven-days-a-week production.
Productivity People was asked to assist with embedding an improvement culture for all staff, as well utilising Lean tools to enable higher capacity utilisation to deliver against the massive increase in demand. The Productivity Growth Programme provided the perfect method.
Creating a Lean Culture
Ballance Agri-Nutrients is a New Zealand farmer owned co-operative that manufactures and supplies fertilisers to enable farmers to achieve soil and animal nutrition productivity with a minimal environmental footprint.
Ballance has three main manufacturing sites which supply four distribution hubs which in turn supply 34 service centres and multiple consignment stores across the country.
Ballance in its current form was created in 2001 but was historically made up of a number of regional fertiliser businesses. These operations had a range of experience in implementing continuous improvement systems including ISO 9001, TPM, QCDSM, and 5S. As a result, the approach was fragmented and whilst there were pockets of strong performance, this was not consistent across all operations. Productivity People was asked to assist with the creation and implementation of a company-wide Lean Management System.
60% Increase in Production Output
Stabicraft manufactures aluminium boats with airtight chambered hulls that have become market leaders because of their stability in the water, safety features, and all-round durability. The company was founded by Paul Adams in 1987 in Invercargill and has grown to become a company employing over 100 people.
As a result of increasing demand, the factory was struggling to achieve the required output of boats. The resulting long lead times had customers having to wait for their order for several months.
The first step was to undertake a gap analysis to identify bottlenecks in the process and also to identify opportunities to improve best practices. The gap analysis highlighted finishing as the current bottleneck and the first step was to introduce Visual Planning and KPI’s together with developing the Team Leadership capability.
Achieved 98% accuracy in first pass for payment process
The Ministry of Education ECE Operational Funding team of around 12 people is responsible for administering the funding to all early childhood education services in New Zealand and pay out between $650M to $700M per funding period.
There were several related issues identified initially:
The payment process had become very complex, with many manually intensive steps. This unnecessarily increased the risk of payment errors. There had been a high turnover of experienced staff, which combined with a lack of adequate handover resulted in a loss of institutional knowledge. On top of that, the documentation outlining the process had become outdated. There had been an increasing number of reactive ad hoc fixes which added to the manually intensive process and increased the chance of further human error.
To maximise value for MoE without sacrificing a significant amount of time for an incredibly busy team, we opted for a one day workshop to train the Funding Team in Structured Problem Solving, followed by a follow up day several weeks later to provide additional support.
38% Increase in Plan Attainment
A pharmaceutical production facility that manufactures vaccines for both the export and domestic markets
The key concern Productivity People was asked to address was that the internal measure of Plan Attainment was sitting below 70%. This low rate was directly impacting customer service.
The low Plan Attainment score had also internal downsides of high inventory levels of both Work in Progress and Finished Goods, as well as a significant amount of internal rework. It won’t come as a surprise that these issues were impacting on the morale and engagement of the team.
The highly regulated nature of pharmaceutical manufacturing creates a specific challenge of integrating the Production and Quality functions.
Identified a $500k Cost Reduction in Six Weeks
Sequal is a saw mill that is unique in that it supplies custom-cut Radiata pine lumber – producing exactly to the customer’s needs. Sequal is based in Kawerau, on the edge of the largest Radiata Pine plantation in the Southern Hemisphere, with access to relatively inexpensive geothermal energy and close proximity to Tauranga port, Sequal has the distinct competitive advantage required to compete in a global market of lumber suppliers.
Sequal was experiencing high levels of operational downtime, low log recovery, and high material losses, which resulted in low operational productivity. Line balancing issues also existed with bottlenecks in several areas of the plant.
After an initial gap analysis, Sequal focussed on strategy deployment to build a business case for Sequal as a world class organisation. This was followed by an organisation-wide introduction of DMS and the development of improved business systems though continuous improvement. Training and coaching sessions ensured buy-in and capability development of staff.