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Case Studies

Manufacturing Excellence Case Studies

“Re-setting the Standard”

High pressure, tight budget, finite line capacity and negative labour variance… Sound familiar?

Find out how this under pressure manufacturing manager made a £330k p.a. turnaround with a 40% speed increase.

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“All the Right Ingredients”

Fighting inconsistent performance and high waste, this renowned biscuit factory was struggling… worse still industrial relations were poor and a strike was looming.
Discover how the site team adopted manufacturing excellence, and using a multi-pronged approach delivered savings of £1.25m p.a. within 12 months, and secured the future of the factory.

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“Champions in Training”

This factory had already started on the path to Manufacturing Excellence, but it knew it now needed in house expertise to drive the continuous improvement agenda.

They utilised ‘See, Try, Do’ and Effective Meetings and were able to build an in-house Manufacturing Excellence team. This is how sustainable improvement is done…

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“Open to New Things”

This business was doing well, and had opened a new factory to consolidate production into one location.

Unfortunately, the factory manager was having to deal with teething problems all over the place, and output was far short of demand. Pressure was mounting up to fix things quick, but it just wasn’t changing fast enough.

Find out about the factory which was able to not only meet orders, but put itself on the path to Manufacturing Excellence too.

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“4 Weeks to Go-Live!”

This factory was 4 weeks from go-live with an ERP project when issues started to be raised to senior management.
Over budget already, testing couldn’t be completed. Strategically important, head office was looking for this to happen – but things weren’t ready.

Learn how they got out of this and brought this project to a successful conclusion.

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“A Growing Family”


This family owned factory was struggling for capacity to meet the projected sales growth, despite having procured a new site a few years earlier. It was time to look closely at Production Planning and raw material yields.

Discover how the GM was able to relieve the pressure by increasing factory output from 600kg per hour to an average of over 750kg per hour and, with improved planning, achieve periods of 900kg per hour.

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“All Bar None”

This bar-line factory needed to make around 1 million units a week – but all kind of headaches got in the way, from de-tempered chocolate to overflowing accumulation. Improvement on such a grand scale needed an empowered team all pulling in the same direction.
Within 2 years the team had not only turned round the factory with improved output by over 50%, reduced waste by 80%, improved product quality and reduced energy usage, they had won the prestigious overall “Food Manufacturer of the Year” award.
Find out more about the challenges they overcame and how they did it.

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“Cluttered Workstations”

This light engineering business needed to improve production flow, reduce inventory and improve workplace organisation.

The factory manager admirably decided to embark on a 5S programme to do something about it, bringing in consistency, generally decluttering, and bringing a standardised approach to his factory.

Discover the extent to which clutter can affect productivity.

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The 7 Wastes acronym is famous the world over, and applicable in all sorts of arenas.

Learn more about how Tesco brought this explanation of the 7 Wastes to it’s young farmer development programme, through the “Sticklebrick game” that brings the concepts to life.

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“Killer Changeovers”

This plant in Hull had a great site, but the number of different SKU’s meant they were now suffering with the amount of lost time due to changeovers. Facing the looming recession as a premium supplier with huge pressures on margins…

Learn how the focus on changeover lead to a 25% increase in OEE and stock reductions of over £2m.
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“Hot and Sweet – A Peeling Story”


Two pack-houses were servicing this UK retailer with potatoes, but wanted to both reduce their operating costs and improve employee engagement in one swoop.
It was a constant challenge to cope with variable demand, but the site management knew there was unnecessary downtime and improvement opportunity. They had tried before to increase output, but failed.

If they could get it right, there were big savings to be had by bringing product washing in-house – but how to make it work this time?

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“Taking the Biscuit”

A Manufacturing manager was fed of of waste getting out of hand in the lead up to Christmas. The waste percentage in the first 6 months of the year was typically half of that in the second 6 months. However, this was a seasonal product, and a lot of agency and new starters came in in the second half of the year.

Would it be possible to do anything about the increase in waste, given the Christmas happens every year?

Find out what the team was able to achieve

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“Cracking Results”

This manager knew problem kit was causing line speed issues, but the overtime bills needed to meet the plan were impacting the labour variances, and affecting margins and profits. Having lots of SKU’s didn’t help, and although they thought they’d cracked a flour bridging issue recently, it hadn’t seemed to make much difference.

Was there any way to hit the required output without killing it with overtime?

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“Measuring Every Last Crumb”


The importance of measuring plant productivity, efficiency and lost downtime had been recognised for a long time, and there was a spreadsheet system in place.

However, this renowned Irish snack business was finding the analysis of the data both time consuming and complicated – might there be a better way?

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“The Top Crust – How It All Began!”

Picture this… the biggest bakery in Europe at the time, a major manufacturer and leading brand of delicious cakes, a very efficient production line, but very high waste as the top crust of cake was trimmed off the sponge…

This amounted to over 10 tonnes of waste per week.

Discover how they solved their waste problem using a range of our bespoke improvement techniques.

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“Loose Change”

This packing site had 21 lines, each with about 5 half an hour changeovers per shift. At any given moment 7 lines were standing still, being changed over.

It was depressing – wasn’t there a better way? It was time to let the shop floor have their go – but would they be able to make more of a difference than any of the previous initiatives?

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“The Customer Is Always Right”


400 deliveries a week, and customer services is key. Imagine being the manager – there’s never a quiet moment. So the trickle of “post deliver note” errors is a headache you don’t need, but now it is turning into a stream.
And if you send the wrong thing to the customer they complain – funny how the people getting too much don’t seem to mind, especially if their contract means they get to keep it…

How much you gasp? But how do you stop people making mistakes?

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“Bread Bin Loads”

Defective product was being produced by the bin load and as the product had low margins any losses suffered hit the area very quickly.

The area also had reached capacity – production was round the clock. The manager had the challenge of finding a solution to the waste problems – but how?

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“Teething Issues”

This multinational Oral Care producer had OEE’s around 40%-50%. The new Operations Director wanted them closer to 70%. Was this even realistic?

This had never been done before, and it’s hard enough making sure the toothpaste comes out in a stripe – surely that magic is enough?

We’ll never get OEE to 70%, will we?

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Over the past three months I have been concentrating mainly on changeover reduction, waste reduction and increased throughput. There has also been a challenge to behavioural patterns. All of these efforts have been using the knowledge that you gave me and I am delighted to say that all have been successful, culminating in increased throughput, less waste and an increase in OEE from an average of 78% to around 90%. There has also been a marked improvement with people issues.

Alwin Waterhouse, Improvement Manager, British Bakeries

That’ll never work [about the modification]...

[2 hours later]... That’s a good idea.