Shrinking market and increasing customer demands demanded focus on cost savings and higher operational efficiency. With Mantec’s help a plan was developed implemented to achieve this.
The company works mainly in the graphical sector with both domestic and international customers, and faces very high demand on delivery precision and quality. A shrinking market for volume products with high margins had put pressure on the company to focus on cost savings and achieve a higher operational efficiency, and it turned to Mantec for assistance.
Mantec performed a pre-study and identified three potential improvement areas.
Management system; the existing system was made up of a large, diverse set of follow-up and ad-hoc reports, which were infrequently followed up and lacked methods for deviation handling.
Planning; there was no planning function. A main plan had never been prepared, capacity planning had not been carried out with accurate data, and no detailed planning tools were in place to help rectify these deficiencies.
Productivity/machine utilization; there were various ways in which productivity could potentially be increased for example by increasing staff utilization, or by working with shorter set-up times.
To tackle the problems identified during the pre-project stage, Mantec and the client formed a project with three focus areas: management system, planning process and machine utilization. An active participation from different levels in the organisation was important to anchor decided solutions and routines, which arose from work carried out in sub-project groups with clear goals and time plans.
A number of elements were put in place to enhance the existing management system:
- leadership training sessions were conducted to give leaders at different levels common values;
- roles and responsibilities were clarified as a result of analysing organisation structure;
- new KPIs were defined and reports and tools based on existing systems were developed;
- a new planning structure (see planning process) and a new meeting structure were worked through and implemented; and
- an action handling system for internal complaints was developed and implemented to provide better control and improve follow-up.
A brand-new planning process was developed:
- a new planning function was created. Roles and responsibilities in relation to order, pre-press and production were clarified;
- a rolling twelve-month demand forecast was developed;
- a master plan with manning and routines for capacity planning was implemented; and
- detail planning with simple change tools was introduced to create current run plans.
A number of changes were made to increase flexibility and machine utilization:
- a new operational structure was developed;
- new methods and routines for larger changeovers, and clarified rules for starting, stopping and breaks were developed;
- new tools for continuous follow-up and deep analysis were introduced; and
- new tools were developed for each machine which gave operators the opportunity to directly follow up production waste in terms of time and scrap. This also had the effect of increasing commitment among the operators.
The main benefits to the client of following through on the indicated change process have been:
- the creation of a more efficient and flexible organisation and a brand-new planning process;
- the development of a clearer management structure with incorporated, flexible follow-up tools; and
- the introduction of a fixed meeting structure.