Coca-Cola Supply Chain Management Company (SCMC) was established by the major bottling companies in China to manufacture and supply non-carbonated products for the Chinese and some regional export markets. The company operates through a supply location network of 17 plants.
Using digiTRACC, world class manufacturing (WCM) was launched at the Dongguan plant in 2005 with measurable success. Based on these successes, it was decided that the Xiamen plant (established in 2006) would start their WCM journey in 2007.
Roughly an hour’s flight from Hong Kong, the SCMS Xiamen plant operates four beverage lines with both hot fill and aseptic filling technology. It produces close to 20 different types of noncarbonated drinks, mostly juice and tea products.
Situation at Xiamen Plant
In the FMCG industry, time efficiency is paramount to operational success. Based on this premise, SCMC Xiamen plant started off by sending all key personnel (those earmarked to become key implementers of TRACC Best Practice) to the Dongguan site for training. This exposure ensured complete buy-in to WCM best practice by these key personnel, making the beginning phases of Xiamen plant’s WCM journey that much more seamless.
Xiamen plant’s key driver for rolling out TRACC was set-up time reduction. Before the roll- out of TRACC, product set-up time at Xiamen took approximately 12 hours — the length of one shift. This impacted nett time utilisation and it became a key challenge to reduce set-up time. TRACC implementation started with Leading and Managing Change, Teamwork, 5S, Visual performance Management and Focus Improvement. Thereafter Autonomous Maintenance, Business Centered Maintenance and Set-up Time Reduction followed in rapid succession.
The STR process was video-taped and the condition was recorded according to TRACC guidelines such as waste elimination, separation of internal and external activities and streamlining of the activities. Operator roadmaps were analysed by means of spaghetti diagrams, tasks were simplified and ECRS (Eliminate, Combine, Reduce, and Simplify) was used to recognise the transferring activities. The plant also found it necessary to do a small amount of reconstruction to equipment to support parallel operations and to simplify the production preparation. Naturally this resulted in a small financial investment in the reconstruction, but it was soon justified by the results.
STR adoption was not an easy process. In the beginning, various employees felt that the company was becoming more scrupulous and they therefore lost passion in the process. A profit improvement project was quickly implemented by department management in order to address this, and a two-month target for result delivery was set. This restored employees’ confidence.
Significant results were achieved within the first 12 months of TRACC implementation. Set-up time reduction became an internal
benchmark for other SCMC sites to follow as the product set-up time dropped from 12 hours to 4 hours. The turning point was to
get the front-line operators involved and engaged in the plant-wide continuous improvement effort. This resulted in a highly motivated workforce that believed they could contribute significantly to the success of the company. All operators became fully involved in the process of analysis and improvement and were sufficiently trained on STR before engaging in any activities. More than 85% of the STR improvement suggestions came from front-line operators.
Financial gains totalled RMB 500 000 with a three-month return on investment. As for the problem of insufficient support from relevant functions, TRACC implementers engaged the relevant functions into the project. This improved communication gave them a sense of involvement and ownership of the achievements.
All standard procedures and control methodologies were set up once the initial activities were completed. After the project, the results were tracked and STR was listed as the site’s daily focus indicator, which was displayed in the relevant positions to be monitored. The TRACC improvement group also report improvement results to management on a regular basis.
Xiamen now regularly reviews and tracks the improvement results to further recognise improvement opportunities. They do this by having the front-line improvement team continuously set new targets to challenge the norm, as well as some new targets being set by management.
SCMC has now made an across-the-board decision to also introduce TRACC at the Suzhou and Beijing sites.