SIG Combibloc offers new service range Operational Excellence Consulting for food and beverage industry customers; service provides tailor-made solutions for manufacturing process to increase sustainability, equipment effectiveness

NEUHAUSEN AM RHEINFALL, Switzerland , May 24, 2012 (press release) – Today’s food manufacturers operate in a fast-paced environment in which, now more than ever, keeping production processes efficient and competitive is a key factor in corporate success. A prerequisite for this is continuous and high-output performance by the equipment installed. With its Operational Excellence Consulting (OEC) programme, SIG Combibloc now offers food and beverage industry customers a new service range to enable them to achieve a sustainable increase in overall equipment effectiveness. The aim of the OEC programme is to work with the customer to develop tailor-made solutions that contribute to optimising individual filling lines, or entire production plants. For the Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, one of China’s leading dairy enterprises, SIG Combibloc’s OEC has helped the company achieve an 11 per cent increase in overall equipment effectiveness at two factories in Hohhot. Further OEC consultation procedures are currently ongoing at Unilever and FrieslandCampina.

Franz-Josef Mines, Head of Global Service at SIG Combibloc: “The strategy of our technical service is to support our customers in ensuring that the filling machines from SIG Combibloc and the people who work with them every day benefit from the best possible preparation and development so they can deliver an excellent performance. The OEC is a good example of taking action to ensure lasting and sustainable success”. The OEC service thus goes far beyond the technical support during installation and in the operation of the filling machines that customers expect as a matter of course. SIG Combibloc’s service portfolio is complemented by an extensive range of extra added-value services.

Modular 3-stage programme

These added-value services include the Operational Excellence Consulting (OEC) programme with the aim to optimise overall equipment effectiveness and to reduce operating costs. This means food and beverage manufacturers who opt for this service feature benefit from the experience with production processes that SIG Combibloc has gained from working with customers across the globe over many years. Examples of best practice are also incorporated into the consultancy service provided by this systems manufacturer. The OEC is based on a structured, modular 3-stage programme consisting of analysis, conception and implementation. Franz-Josef Mines: “The programme helps companies achieve the highest level of transparency, and as a result enables them to formulate clearer strategies for solutions to improve production and organisational processes, increase overall equipment effectiveness and lower operating costs”.

Close cooperation, right from the outset

The analysis stage begins with a thorough process of data collection and evaluation, to provide a full and comprehensive overview over the company-specific processes involved and to enable businesses to manage these processes more efficiently in the future. This is aided by detailed on-the-spot analyses and interviews on current line efficiency, production times and possible achievement potentials. Upon request, SIG Combibloc can also provide a systematically designed Line Monitoring System for the analysis and sustainable optimisation of production processes.

Tobias Hammeke, Head of Global Service Sales & Consulting at SIG Combibloc: “In the subsequent conceptual stage, we then work with our customers to define specific goals and measures that will directly help to improve production capacity and overall equipment effectiveness. In this process, we focus on the key factors leading to improvements, and we and the customer agree precise timetables for implementation”.

In the implementation phase, which follows next, the steps defined are put into practice. In regular team meetings, the success of the programme stages is reviewed on an ongoing basis. The customer’s employees are given comprehensive training in using the data generated to identify opportunities for improvements, and to initiate appropriate measures. This ensures that once the external guidance offered by SIG Combibloc has ceased to apply, customers are able to continue optimising, independently and sustainably.

Sustainable optimisation in all areas

The Operational Excellence Consulting programme covers all areas that relate to the manufacturing process. The programme focuses on the areas with the greatest potential for optimisation. In addition to equipment effectiveness, these areas include employee productivity and resource utilisation − the goal is to generate continuous and sustainable improvement.

To increase equipment effectiveness, firstly, planned machine downtimes (for instance, to carry out cleaning processes) can be standardised and optimised. The reasons for unplanned downtimes are also analysed and, where possible, reduced.

Another important consideration is employee productivity. The first step is a status analysis in respect of the company’s organisational structure and workflow management, with the aim of then optimally planning human resource allocation based on these findings. Reference values from best-practice examples are taken as the benchmark for identifying and implementing potentials. In addition, targeted further training and the transfer of more responsibility can also contribute to improving the employees’ level of qualification and increase their commitment.

In terms of resource utilisation, a detailed analysis of key consumables offers additional possibilities for improvement. Handling and actual consumption of selected materials used in the production process are determined and compared against examples of best practice. Deviations from these values can thus undergo targeted analysis and the use of resources can be improved as a consequence. The use of existing equipment is analysed on the same basis. In this case, it is important to analyse, for example, whether the individual components in the line fit together perfectly to ensure the best possible and most efficient production.

To ensure sustainable optimisation in the production process, a system for organising continuous improvement is devised and implemented. The involvement of the machine operators in the improvement process, and the target-oriented management of employees within the production process are essential aspects in maintaining this system. Another important consideration is the development of a meetings and communication strategy. This includes defining which topics will be discussed and handled in what timeframes and in which groups. Precisely defined shift handovers are also vital in this respect.

Tobias Hammeke: “The Operational Excellence Consulting programme focuses squarely on improving operational performance and lowering production costs. With successful implementation of an OEC project, the investment pays off for the customer within a year”.

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