CASE STUDY - Operational Excellence in Chemical Manufacturer

KIMBERLITE – CHEMICAL MANUFACTURER

 

Background

Client is one of the leading specialty chemical manufacturer and exporter in India and having business operations around 40 countries across the globe. They produce organic & inorganic chemicals for water treatment plants, sugar mills and other industries.

 

Challenges

•The efficiency of their production batches, which we measured at 60%, emerged as a significant concern within the operational framework. This efficiency rate provided insights into the production processes, highlighting the need for improvement. The 60% rate signalled potential underutilization of resources, extended production times, and likely inefficiencies that resulted in increased production costs. Addressing this matter was imperative as it impacted not only the competitiveness but also capacity to meet customer demands and uphold cost-effective manufacturing practices.

•The second major issue revolved around a significant surge in the consumption of extra chemicals within batches, directly resulting from production losses. This challenge had grown increasingly prominent, further exacerbated by their inability to meet production targets. The primary underlying factors contributing to this problem encompassed inefficient handling practices, equipment-related deficiencies, and potential lapses in quality control measures. The consequences extended beyond operational costs, giving rise to environmental and product quality concerns. Resolving this matter was of utmost importance, not only to streamline our processes but also to ensure we met their production goals efficiently and sustainably.

•Another significant concern lies in the absence of effective production monitoring systems, which posed a critical challenge in their operational landscape. This deficiency not only hindered the capacity to track and optimize production processes but also created potential inefficiencies, quality control challenges, and missed opportunities for improvement. Consequently, addressing this gap became paramount to ensure a seamlessly efficient production flow.

 

What We Did:
Lean Daily Management

Our approach was systematic and methodical, involving a series of key steps to address this critical aspect of the production processes. To begin, we conducted a comprehensive assessment of the existing practices and processes related to yield monitoring. This initial evaluation allowed us to identify areas where standardization could bring about meaningful improvements. We considered factors such as work procedures, quality control measures, and data collection methods.

Having pinpointed areas for enhancement, we set about developing standardized work procedures and protocols. This involved creating clear and uniform guidelines for workforce, ensuring that everyone involved in the production process adhered to the same high standards. Training programs were implemented to equip the team with the knowledge and skills needed to work in accordance with these new protocols. Simultaneously, we introduced robust monitoring and data collection systems. These systems allowed us to track the progress and outcomes of the production processes in real-time. Data analysis became a crucial part of our approach, enabling us to identify deviations, bottlenecks, or issues that needed immediate attention. Furthermore, our commitment to continuous improvement led us to integrate feedback mechanisms with work standardization process. Regular reviews and assessments of standardized procedures allowed us to refine and adapt them as needed, ensuring that they remained relevant and effective.

By implementing these strategies, we not only improved yield monitoring but also enhanced the overall operational efficiency and product quality. Our methodical approach ensured that work standardization became an integral part of daily operations, resulting in tangible and sustained improvements in production processes.

 

Improved the availability of reactor units through Preventive maintenance (CLIT)

In our pursuit of enhancing the availability of ancillary units through Preventive Maintenance (CLIT), we executed a well-structured approach that encompassed both the actions we took and the methods we employed. Firstly, we initiated a meticulous evaluation of ancillary units, identifying the key components that were most susceptible to wear and tear. This initial assessment was instrumental in determining where the preventive maintenance efforts would yield the most significant benefits.

Once we got a clear understanding of the critical areas, we developed a preventive maintenance plan, which involved creating a schedule for routine inspections, servicing, and component replacements. We set specific maintenance intervals to ensure that these ancillary units were regularly checked and maintained. We also established a well-trained team of maintenance technicians who were not only equipped with the necessary skills but were also familiar with the unique requirements of each ancillary unit. This team played a pivotal role in executing the preventive maintenance tasks effectively. Moreover, we established clear guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure uniformity in our approach across all ancillary units.

Throughout this process, we continuously tracked the performance of the ancillary units and the effectiveness of the preventive maintenance efforts. Regular reviews and assessments allowed us to fine-tune the maintenance plan, ensuring that it remained relevant and optimized for the changing needs of the operations.
By implementing this comprehensive preventive maintenance strategy, we successfully improved the availability of ancillary units. The combination of routine maintenance and skilled workforce ensured that these units operated reliably and consistently, reducing unplanned downtime and contributing to a smoother operational workflow.

 

Process standards derived through Design of Experiments

 To establish process standards derived through Design of Experiments (DOE), we pursued a methodical approach aimed at optimizing and fine-tuning our operational processes. This journey involved a series of well-defined steps to ensure that processes adhered to the highest standards and delivered consistent, high-quality results.

Our first step was to identify the specific areas within the operations where process standards could bring about substantial improvements. Through a careful analysis, we pinpointed processes that had significant impact on final outcomes and were susceptible to variation. With these processes in mind, we designed a series of controlled experiments using the DOE methodology. This allowed us to systematically change variables and parameters while monitoring the effects on the process and final product. These experiments provided us with valuable insights into the cause-and-effect relationships, enabling us to identify the optimal conditions for achieving our desired outcomes.

Furthermore, data collection and analysis played a critical role in our approach. We utilized statistical tools (Minitab) and techniques to evaluate the results of experiments and draw meaningful conclusions. This data-driven decision-making process ensured that process standards were not based on assumptions but grounded in empirical evidence.

The standards derived from these experiments were translated into clear and concise guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs). These documents served as the basis for training our workforce to ensure that the established standards were consistently met and maintained. Additionally, we established a system for continuous monitoring and quality control, enabling us to track and assess the adherence to the process standards over time. Any deviations from the established standards were promptly identified and addressed, ensuring that processes consistently met the desired benchmarks.

Through this meticulous and data-driven approach, we successfully established process standards derived through the Design of Experiments. This not only enhanced the consistency and quality of the operations but also positioned us to achieve greater efficiency and excellence in the final outcomes.

 

Sustained Change – Our Journey

Implementing sustained change within the organization involves a systematic approach with clear steps for each initiative:

1. Lean Daily Management:
– Developed the standardized work procedures and protocols to create uniform guidelines for workforce.
– Implement training programs to equip team with the necessary knowledge and skills to follow these standardized procedures.
– Introduced robust monitoring and data collection systems to track production processes in real-time.
– Continuously review and adapt standardized procedures to ensure relevance and effectiveness.

2. Improved Availability of Reactor Units through Preventive Maintenance (CLIT):
– Formulate a preventive maintenance plan, including scheduled inspections, predictive maintenance, and proactive repairs.
– Provide specialized training to the team to execute maintenance tasks.
– Establish clear guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for uniformity in maintenance practices.
– Regularly monitor and collect data to track performance and make data-driven decisions to optimize maintenance schedules.

3. Process Standards Derived through Design of Experiments:
– Collect and analyse data using statistical tools to evaluate the results of experiments and draw meaningful conclusions and handover to team.
– Translate the derived standards into clear guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs).
– Train the workforce to ensure consistent adherence to these standards.
– Establish a system for continuous monitoring and quality control to track and assess adherence to the process standards over time.

By following these systematic steps, the organization was successfully implemented sustained change initiatives in yield monitoring, preventive maintenance, and process standardization, resulting in improved efficiency, productivity, and product quality. These changes will not only enhance operations but also position of organization for long-term success and competitiveness.

 

Key results

The implementation of strategic measures yielded significant improvements in the operations. The average batch yield, which initially stood at 60%, saw a remarkable enhancement, surging to an impressive 95%. This substantial increase reflects the success of our efforts in optimizing processes and minimizing wastage. Additionally, our initiatives led to a notable reduction in input chemical costs by 19%. This achievement not only translates to substantial cost savings but also underscores our commitment to operational efficiency and resource management. These key results mark a significant milestone in continuous pursuit of excellence and sustainability in operations.

•Average Batch yield improved to 95% from 60%
•Input chemical cost reduced by 19%