Creating food safety by problem solving with labor and yield cost reduction
THE PROBLEM / OPPORTUNITY
In Manufacturing there are events that occur where the problem affects many layers of the operation, in this case our team was contacted from one of our customers where a production line was presenting excessive downtime at startups, significant scrap increasing and a potential food contamination, causing the line to go down, scraping all product that was in the line and placing finished useful product on hold due to potential food safety and sometimes even cancelling production for the day. All these issues were mainly driven by a constant friction between the main transporter conveyors and the metal frames holders. In many cases companies encounter these types of situations after seen a major problem that put at harm the food safety and quality of the products, this is a clear example of letting a problem get out of control.
As part of our culture and methodology a Pre-work and data analysis was necessary in order to find out what was the issue, what was the cause, what it is the solution and how to sustain it, during these steps we worked with employees across various departments and that’s when we discovered that the Conveyor belt and metal frame conveyor were off, dimensions were not matching resulting in significant amount shavings from the conveyor, Also we found out that human error was a big factor for the failure, since during the cleaning process conveyor belts were removed for sanitation purposes.
After understanding the multiple input on the process, we decided to improve the design of multiple Parts/ Areas to reduce variabilities and eliminate human dependency on the sanitation and set up process. We worked alongside with the engineering department, Quality, Operations and front-line leaders on the approval and implementation of the changes, training and supplying proper tools to the front-line leaders as well.
As a result of this improvement, we redesigned the equipment to mistake proof the process achieving:
- Zero foreign material contamination.
- Faster Sanitation and Set-up Process.
- Safer employee behavior and conditions.
- Zero Downtime attributed to food safety or operational functions.
In this project the Team learnt how powerful is to deeply understand the root cause of the problem, not just the surface. When mistake proofing equipment design, we have the confidence of no matter the operational circumstances we will have a stable process often easing employee’s duties. Based on the success of the project other opportunities with similar approach were detected in different areas, giving us the opportunity to analyze problems from the root cause perspective to mistake proof achieving positive results and meet food safety and quality for our customer.
“What we don't understand, we cannot solve”
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