IET, Inc.
3539 Glendale Ave
Toledo, Ohio 43614

Case Study 1-08721

Envisioning the “Could-Be” by seeing the “As-Is”.

IET’s data from observing “the gemba” revealed substantial opportunity and pin-pointed where to focus improvement efforts.

The Customer

The largest tobacco company in the United States

The Challenge

Recent consolidation efforts within the company had focused attention on maximizing equipment productivity. One high-volume production cell was studied to reveal the sources of lost throughput and daily variation.

The Solution

IET and the customer developed a study schedule covering 11 consecutive shifts, 24 hours per day that would reflect typical operating conditions. IET’s engineers recorded the time of occurrence and duration of each production cell interruption along with the upset condition’s specific machine location within the cell. Particular attention was paid to how the problem manifested itself, the error codes presented on the control screens, equipment operating speeds, as well as the responses of both operators and maintenance staff.

Data indicated that twelve specific failure modes occurred frequently enough to warrant equipment redesign consideration. Together, these repeatable faults accounted for at least 20% of equipment downtime. In addition, operator practices clearly contributed to performance differences. The lowest-performing shift experienced almost 75% more downtime than the best-performing shift while also running at the slowest speeds. The entire study demonstrated that a 20-25 percentage point reduction in equipment downtime was possible with standardized operator performance and some equipment improvements.

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