One of Aster’s principals was employed by a consumer product manufacturing company to increase productivity and improve quality levels.

The factory had been established for a number of years manufacturing for the UK market. It had however grown so quickly that the workforce of over 200 staff lacked unity and leadership.

Our principal was employed with a view to achieving the following objectives: –

  • Increase Productivity by up to 20%.
  • Increase first time yield at both test and final inspection by 10%.
  • Create an environment of teamwork across functional departments
  • Improve factory communication processes

At the start of the project the factory output was approx. 12,000 units per week. The most ‘accepted’ products produced by any one line in any one day was approximately 700 units.

A programme was implemented to highlight all the ‘waste’ in the processes and improvement activities were initiated to tackle the productivity issue. New performance indicators were introduced in conjunction with the production management team.

It quickly became clear that the productivity of the factory was being significantly affected by the cumulative affect of poor first time yields throughout the factory’s many processes. By tackling the yield issue first, it would theoretically be possible to improve the productivity by the elimination or reduction of rework, double handling and other non-value added activities.

Improvement teams were set up across departments to look at particular problems that affected the quality of the product and hence the output of the facility.

Pareto and Tally charts were used to monitor quality levels from the various processes and the bottlenecks in the process were tackled to increase the overall output of each of the 4 main production lines. Successive checking was successfully introduced to each of the assembly stages. So successful was this initiative that the line technicians who had previously struggled to cope with line defects were now able to be transferred to other value adding activities.

At the end of an 11-month period, the factory productivity had increased by 40% to 20,000 units per week. Two of the four production lines had consistently achieved daily output figures in excess of 1100  ‘accepted’ units per day.

Quality defects had fallen by an average of 27% and the workforce had been organised and structured into self- managing teams across functional divides.