Sugar Foods Corporation decided to implement a company wide Continuous Improvement Program in order to drive out waste, reduce costs, improve productivity and increase margins. This program would introduce new processes that would allow the company to remain competitive, increase market share and create a culture of continuous improvement/Lean manufacturing as the company grows. Sugar Foods’ goal was to increase productivity through education and training in continuous improvement processes and techniques for all 600 employees across all locations
Sugar Foods Corporation met with CMTC consultants in June of 2005 to define the elements of the project to achieve the specified objectives. The project scope included education and hands-on training in problem solving skills, team facilitation with emphasis on team leader skills and continuous improvement/Lean manufacturing principles. The cross functional teams would work on the improvement projects to gain an understanding of how to conduct rapid improvement events (Kaizens) in order to achieve improvements throughout the company’s manufacturing operations. The project duration was from July 2005 through September 2006 and included various continuous improvement events at all three plant locations. These events included Lean manufacturing simulation training, changeover and set up reduction, statistical process control training and total productive maintenance training.
A Kaizen event was conducted in the sugar packaging area resulting in 15% reduced rework and scrap as well as increased productivity. A packaging line changeover/set up reduction improvement project resulted in a reduction from 22 to 8 minutes or 72% in changeover time. This increased capacity was achieved on a line historically required to run overtime in order to meet market demands.
Total Productive Maintenance improvements included increased operator training and responsibilities for packaging equipment operation as well as changes to preventative maintenance programs. All cross functional team members developed a good understanding of problem solving methodologies and are applying it in other areas of the company’s operations. There was $185,000 in annual cost savings realized as a result of the productivity and scrap improvements made in the sugar and crouton processing packaging areas.