Wyandot, Inc. is a 75 year old manufacturer of high quality, private branded snack foods in Marion, Ohio. Wyandot serves major grocery and food distribution clients throughout the region, each having many products each with unique requirements for formulations and production line setup. Quality and consistent foods meeting the client’s specifications must be delivered safely, on-time and at competitive costs. Wyandot’s Continuous Improvement and “Drive Zero Defects” philosophy is part of the foundation for its quality management system. As a part of their culture, Wyandot is always looking for ways to improve efficiencies and reduce wastes while improving quality and capacity.
The wide variety of products being produced and the resulting need for frequent production line changeovers requires the coordination of several different Wyandot teams. Changeovers are costly because they require substantial manpower, can generate significant waste and are disruptive to normal manufacturing operations. Wyandot recognized an opportunity to significantly reduce downtime, costs and waste associated with product changeovers. They needed to standardized and formalize changeover processes because they are critical to efficient operations.
The PolymerOhio / Supplier Six Sigma team was retained to lead the project to improve and formalize the changeover processes on a number of different products across multiple production lines.
Supplier Six Sigma’s Master Black Belt, Bill Soller, designed and led the Changeover Optimization project using a team based Kaizen Event driven process. Employees from different business, production, maintenance, safety and sanitary areas all participated in the Kaizens to design and document standard work processes and SOPs. A Six Sigma problem solving DMAIC (Define, Measure, Improve and Control) process helped guide the team and keep the project on track. Brainstorming sessions identified opportunities for improving equipment design and employee training all which will lead to improved process flow and collaboration between areas.
The project method used a separate Kaizen process to work on each changeover process. Lessons learned, tools generated and training from previous changeover project Kaizens were used to build the effectiveness of subsequent Kaizens.
The project is proceeding on schedule with projected completion of all changeover processes in the first quarter 2017. It is estimated that on average, the time and resources historically required to complete a changeover will be reduced by 30%. This improvement is reflected in labor cost savings, additional available production time (capacity) and reduced waste.
Additional benefits of this Continuous Improvement effort include the establishment of Process Maps and formal Standard Work documents that work along with employee training to provide a structured method to complete changeovers in an efficient manner.