Working with your Internal CI Team to Achieve Ambitious Mandates

The Challenge:

Despite a healthy financial year, the senior management team was compelled to undertake a project based on several known opportunities. First was recognition that the traditional method of investing in the company’s future through capital projects would ultimately have diminishing returns without the right management skills in place. The existing supervisory team had considerable experience but did not have the appropriate tools or training which caused them to be too reactive to issues. At the management level, the SVP Supply Chain and a new CI Manager both had ambitious mandates that were in need of support.

Another motivation for the senior management team was an on-going difficulty with creating accountability through transparent performance measurement. This ambiguity was stunting improvements and innovation.

Finally, a desire existed to maintain flexibility in product offering for Sales by counteracting the gradual consumption of Production capacity without capital expenditure.

The Results:

At the conclusion of the project, savings are tracking in each of the 3 key areas of focus. Highlights in year-over-year performance are:
• 15% increase in direct labor productivity
• 29% decrease in material yield loss
• 66% decrease in overtime hours
• 12% decrease in PPV

Supporting these results are over 30 process improvements across direct and indirect areas. Direct labor was impacted by increasing line uptime and decreasing crewing requirements. Capacity was created in indirect areas by reducing non value-added time through a variety of means including layout changes and removal of unnecessary process steps.
Improvements to the management toolkit are also contributing to the project’s success. An S&OP process was initiated that centers around forecasting and new capacity planning tools. A new production schedule is now in place that includes medium and short range detail as well as heightened visibility to equipment utilization. A range of new tools are also in place at the point of execution that maintain focus on specific performance requirements and drive variance resolution.

Changed behaviors are also instrumental in the results achieved to date. Supervisors are now more proactive in dealing with variances and are much more focused on achieving results and continuous improvement.

The Client Experience:

“After 115 years in business we now have the tools and methodology to realize our true potential through continuous improvement. After 6 months of tracking we are well on our way to the projected savings for this project. More importantly, we now have a process for sustainable continuous improvement in our business.”

President, Sokol & Company


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