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Making the Line Work Harder

Increasing efficiency and reducing costs is manufacturing nirvana. Even better? A system that can deliver nirvana accompanied by ROI in less than 12 months…

As a brand that is recognised worldwide, Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE) needs little introduction. To whet your appetite for emulating success on their level however, consider for a moment the size of their operations. In Great Britain alone, they have seven manufacturing sites, 186,000 pieces of equipment and sold a massive 228 million cases of product in 2008.

With production scales of that magnitude, anything that increases efficiency and reduces costs in production and processing amplifies on a substantial scale and over the next three years, CCE expect to see significant improvements in their European Supply Chain Division’s operations. In part, this will be thanks to the selection and application of LineView™, a diagnostic software solution that intelligently identifies the root causes of downtime, 24 hours a day.

Putting power into energy drinks

LineView monitors the entire production process in real time. As a business that brings together over 400 suppliers to manufacture 80 different products, every second counts for CCE. Richard Davies, vice president operations Coca Cola Enterprises, said: “LineView is the single most powerful manufacturing tool I’ve seen during my 15 years in operations management”. Every aspect of the line’s efficiency losses is delivered in a format that helps target improvement activity– a process that is vital for helping technology and people to work in harmony.

Martin Wing, managing partner for Europe at LineView’s consultancy partner, Kepner-Tregoe (KT) verifies this: “Effective and efficient problem solving is dependent on good quality, timely data – and a thorough process to gather, sort, organise and analyse that information. As LineView captures data in real time, this offers unparalleled advantages in the quality of data feeding into the logic of the problem solving frameworks we apply to our clients – allowing us to quickly and effectively turn this analysis into root cause identification, recommendations and solutions that bring lasting effect.”

Knowing where to start

The graphics on LineView provides a visual simulation of the factory with updates in real-time on flow rates, stoppages and other variables through tabulated figures and colour changes. This enables both real-time OEE and periodic trends to be calculated. The way the information is displayed supports two fundamental steps in recognising problems;

  • Separating and clarifying issues so that people do not get information from one issue confused with another
  • Setting priority on issues so that the limited resources are able to focus on getting the biggest return for the investment of time

Wing continues “Whilst it is common to hear people talking of ineffective root cause analysis around their workplace, what people often fail to understand is you only need to complete a root cause analysis when three conditions are true: set targets or expectations are not being met, the cause of these missed targets is not known and finally we need to know the cause to take meaningful action. Separating and clarifying issues is fundamental to assessing these three conditions and then knowing where to start.”

Stimulating routine and discipline

Deming established, and more lately six sigma has emphasised, that variation in the manufacturing process is not good for business. This is now common knowledge and it is therefore an easy stretch to assume too much variation in the management processes that control and guide operations is also not good. Getting people to think in a similar fashion can therefore increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the management routines and disciplines that are essential for any modern manufacturing operation. Removing thinking pattern variation will help in getting people aligned quicker.

Ian Rowledge, director at LineView Solutions, emphasises “Standard routines and disciplines are essential to ensure some predictability in the management systems that surround any LineView installation. Without this rigour people don’t always realise the full extent of the benefits that are available to them. The KT approaches undoubtedly stimulate the right thinking patterns in people to utilise to best effect the information captured by LineView.”

The taste of success

LineView allocates the reasons for downtime into pre-defined categories, flags up problems and helps identify the principle causes of inefficiency – delivering the results to every PC in the factory. Such is its efficacy, a LineView trial can often generate enough benefit to pay for a full installation: usually achieving a complete return on investment in less than 12 months.

“The power of LineView is in the speed with which teams can identify the real losses to efficiency, while providing the drill-down necessary for highly effective problem solving,” said Davies. “With the operational support of the LineView Solutions team, at CCE we’ve seen performance increases of up to 20% in less than 24 months.”

LineView is extremely effective in highly automated bottling and packaging environments, not just drinks production, although clients include Heineken, Diageo, Coca-Cola Hellenic and Heineken. For CCE, LineView has delivered:

  • Efficiency savings of over 8%
  • A return on investment within 12 months
  • A performance increase of up to 20% over 24 months

Achieving the perfect balance between technology and people skills will never be a perfect science. But with LineView Solutions providing cutting edge data analysis and Kepner-Tregoe ensuring learnings are transferred effectively into process improvement within the plant and the people running it, results would suggest that together they are providing a highly effective approach to edge CCE ever closer to that unobtainable holy grail.

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