Are you achieving the best performance from your production lines?

Operations Optimisation – FMCG manufacturing processes are generally pretty complicated, and a single inefficiency in one of the process steps can cause havoc overall. Prime Design has both wide industry experience and a range of diagnostic tools to be able to identify and help resolve specific issues to ultimately increase overall process reliability.     

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Operations Optimisation

What do you need?

"Our production efficiency for the line has dropped but we can’t see why when nothing has changed."

We can provide a manufacturing operations survey in order to identify the key areas that need focus.

"The new line never reached its stated production efficiency."

Fundamental design issues or failed site acceptance tests (SAT)?

"Our operating teams have lost confidence in the line’s ability to reach efficiency targets."

We can help in supporting continuous improvement (CI) frameworks.

"We need to buy a new machine …. I think!"

A simulation model will help with informed decision making and CAPEX justification.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is OEE?

  1. Overall Equipment Effectiveness, this is a best practice efficiency measure for a manufacturing process. The measure combines availability; performance and quality to give an absolute measure of productivity. 100% OEE means the process you are measuring ran all of the time, at the full speed and without any wastage. 
  • 100% Quality: Only good parts are being produced.
  • 100% Performance: The process is running as fast as possible.
  • 100% Availability: No stop time during planned production hours.

By measuring OEE and understanding the reasons for losses, you begin to understand how to improve your manufacturing process. OEE is the single best metric for identifying losses, benchmarking progress, and enhancing the productivity of manufacturing equipment (i.e., eliminating waste).

  1. Choose the right formula:
    • Define your purpose for measuring OEE. Consider whether you want to compare production lines, identify bottlenecks, or improve profit margins.
    • Decide the level of monitoring: factory-wide, per production line, per machine, per shift, or per product.
    • Explore other metrics like OOE (Overall Operations Effectiveness) or TEEP (Total Effective Equipment Performance) to see if they fit your needs better.
  2. Automate data gathering with real-time IIoT:
    • Connect your machinery to sensors on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
    • Real-time machine condition monitoring is essential for improving OEE.
  3. Apply the 5 Steps of Lean:
    • Follow the Lean DMAIC cycle:
      • Define: Clearly define your goals.
      • Measure: Gather relevant data.
      • Analyse: Identify bottlenecks and losses.
      • Improve: Implement incremental changes.
      • Control: Maintain improvements over time.
    • Prioritise factors causing loss and take a step-by-step approach to reduce their impact.

Remember that continuous improvement is key.

  1. Assess Your Production Line Equipment:
    • Assess the efficiency of your current line equipment. Consider factors like speed, accuracy, and maintenance requirements. 
    • Ensure all equipment on the production line is correctly integrated to prevent inefficient use of individual pieces of equipment.
  2. Optimise Materials:
    • Review your choice and specifications of packaging materials
    • Implement strict quality control measures to minimise product waste during filling. Accurate measurements and well-calibrated machinery can significantly reduce material losses.
  3. Energy Efficiencies:
    • Switch to energy-efficient lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Timers and sensors can help regulate energy usage.
    • Reduce idle time for machinery. Turn off equipment when not in use to save electricity.
  4. Preventive Maintenance Measures:
    • Schedule routine maintenance for your equipment. Proper lubrication, cleaning, and timely repairs prevent breakdowns and extend equipment lifespan.
    • Use predictive analytics to identify potential issues before they escalate. Addressing problems early prevents costly downtime.
    • Automate data gathering with real-time Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Connect your machinery to sensors
  5. Labour Efficiency:
    • Train your staff effectively. Well-trained operators can handle machinery efficiently, reducing errors and minimising downtime.
    • Optimise shift schedules to match production demand. Avoid overstaffing during low-demand periods.
  6. Supply Chain Optimisation:
    • Negotiate with suppliers for better pricing on raw materials, packaging, spare parts, and consumables.
    • Maintain optimal inventory levels to avoid excess storage costs and prevent shortages.

Regularly monitor your costs, analyse data, and adapt your strategies as needed.

  1. Listen to your Employees:
    • Show employees that you value their input and ideas. Regularly get feedback through one-on-one conversations, surveys or focus groups. Act on their suggestions to demonstrate that their opinions matter.
  2. Invest in and encourage employee development:
    • Provide formal development plans.  Encourage cross-training and offer opportunities for challenging assignments. Create career paths. When employees see a path for growth, they are more likely to stay engaged.
  3. Recognise and appreciate employees’ efforts:
    • Implement employee recognition programmes. Celebrate achievements and contributions. Recognition boosts morale and creates a positive work environment.
  4. Encourage a supportive culture:
    • Encourage collaboration, teamwork, and mutual respect. Employees who feel connected to their colleagues are more likely to be engaged.
  5. Pay and Benefits:
    • Ensure that your compensation packages are competitive. 

Employee engagement is an ongoing process. Regularly assess your strategies and create an environment where employees feel motivated and valued.

Further Information

Operations Optimisation

Quality, cost and delivery (QCD) are key standard metrics used by manufacturing organisations all over the world. Prime Design work in partnership with our customers to help ensure a positive performance against these metrics and support their continued success. We have over 150 years of combined experience in FMCG operations so have a wealth of expertise to support these optimisation activities. Services that we offer are as follows:

Simulation Modelling – Prime Design can run a range of scenarios to establish the optimum arrangement for a manufacturing process. Altering all the relevant parameters in the process, such as activity and equipment speeds, conveyor lengths, accumulation capacity and staffing levels we can run operational simulations to assess relative impacts. These simulations provide realistic outputs, and efficiencies are also determined by taking into account % rejects, mean time between failures (MTBF) and Mean Time To repair (MTTR).

Having the opportunity to optimise a process (virtually) before implementation helps our customers establish the right solution (layouts, speeds staffing…) in a safe environment. This avoids unnecessary rework, additional cost, lost time and reduces risk.

Manufacturing Operations Survey – This popular service includes a brief site survey to review manufacturing systems and the preparation of a summary recommendation report. This service will critically review your manufacturing operation and highlight observed positives and suggestions for improvement. We often find that organisations value having an external (non-biased) perspective on their operation as this minimises internal conflicts created by the findings!

Continuous Improvement – Prime Design is also able to support its customers with implementing Continuous Improvement (CI) frameworks. We have many experiences of successful implementation of these processes and the benefits and infectious enthusiasm they create when implemented well.

Prime Design advocate using a structured basic framework that is easy to understand, universal and effective. We believe that the value is not in the process itself but in the reaction created within an organisation and the possibilities this presents. For the CI framework to generate the expected reaction, our customers will commit ongoing genuine management support and time but the impact of these small investments can be truly transformational.