This success story is about an organization belonging to the food industry with multiple production lines and warehouses of both ready goods and raw materials. The challenge here was increased costs and low productivity that had a negative impact on international sales.
In the project we followed a coaching and training approach. A team of executives was trained on the philosophy and the tools of Quality Management and Lean Six Sigma. Consequently, they implemented the tools during specific projects according to the priorities that have been set. The priorities were set at the beginning of the project by doing an organizational self-assessment, using the EFQM business excellence model. The self-assessment revealed the need to focus on processes and customer results.
The implementation followed the Define – Measure – Analyze – Improve – Control cycle of Six Sigma.
During the lean six sigma projects one of the main tools that was used was the observation at the Gemba (production area). As a result of the Gemba observation and in cooperation with the production line coordinators, areas for improvement were identified, measurements were carried out and tests, related to different machine speeds, different staffing as well as different layouts, were made. Productivity was increased from 8% to 25%.
Furthermore, it was explored the Voice of the Customer and the customer feedback was used to make changes in products as well as in processes directly related to the customer such as customer service and logistics processes. The problem-solving methodology has been also improved by starting using specific tools such as 5Whys and fishbone diagrams that were presented in workshops.
During the group coaching sessions the participants had the opportunity, among others, to exchange experiences related to the progress of their projects, to solve problems by taking advantage of the group’s knowledge and wisdom and to improve their skills, which helped them carry out their projects with success.
The cost savings that were achieved because of changes and improvements during the lean six sigma projects were calculated to be more that 250.000 Euro.