A Case Study in Quality Control
Nestle Waters, the world's leading bottled water company, has built a solid reputation on the quality and purity of its products. Established in 130 countries, with a portfolio of 72 brands, Nestle Waters continues to meet consumer needs by keeping its wide variety of products flowing through strong distribution channels.
Nestle Waters has 100 manufacturing sites operating in 38 countries. With 2007 sales of over $10 billion and a market share of 19.2%, Nestle Waters has emerged as a substantial player in the flourishing bottled water market.
Challenge: From Paper-Based to Electronic Data Analysis and Storage
Nestle Waters' goal was to implement a system that would allow them to easily monitor, review and trend realtime quality data. Additionally, Nestle Waters needed to standardize on one solution across all of their facilities to complement their existing IT infrastructure. They were operating in both LAN and WAN environments and needed to maintain their IT framework.
Nestle Waters had been using a cumbersome paper-based system to collect and analyze data. When issues arose that required immediate attention, Nestle Waters' quality engineers had to disrupt the operators on the production line to retrieve the necessary data.
Solution: Integrate InfinityQS SPC Software with Existing IT Infrastructure
After a thorough needs/analysis evaluation, Nestle Waters determined that InfinityQS ProFicient best satisfied their criteria for quality documentation and analysis.
The IT department played a vital role during all stages of the implementation. From an IT standpoint, the implementation focused on two separate manufacturing units—Retail Manufacturing and Home and Office Manufacturing. They spread the implementation across 16 Retail sites as well as 8 Home and Office sites and integrated them with corporate headquarters.
Nestle Waters Retail objectives were to:
- Upgrade all factories to the latest release
- Organize the purchase of all the PCs required for the work stations.
- Image new PCs to the Nestle standard and install InfinityQS
- Ensure that the project leader had all necessary rights and permissions to access the servers
Nestle Waters Home and Office objectives were to:
- Format existing servers
- Install SQL databases and InfinityQS on the servers
- Purchase new PCs, image, put users in the user group and grant necessary permissions and access
As part of the organizational effort, IT planned hardware purchases in advance to ensure that servers were set up, racked and usable prior to trial production runs.
On the shop floor, emphasis was put on location of the workstations to facilitate efficient and effective workflow.
Results: Informed, Timely Decision Making to Improve Quality
With the InfinityQS solution in place, Nestle Waters now has real-time visibility over production processes—both within the individual sites and from the corporate level across 26 factories. By tracking trends in quality data, they are able to make more accurate and timely decisions about process improvements.
Nestle Waters is using InfinityQS software to review sampling frequency optimization and in-line monitoring as well as to track the following projects:
- Cap Torque and application analysis from retail factories comparing different cap vendors
- Light weight bottle initiative to optimize process and ultimately reduce unnecessary full bottle testing
- Automatically capture air consumption process data, using analysis functions to optimize production processes.
"There are many advantages to having a computerized system that sometimes, in the fog of having this powerful tool with its many capabilities, one can over look," said Julie Chapman, Quality Systems Manager. "It is ultimately easier for the operator. Even with the minimal computer skills many of the operators had in the beginning, the overwhelming consensus is that they prefer using InfinityQS over a paper system."
Other improvements have come at a practical level. "You can read the data rather than having to decipher the writing of 150 different people. The data is at your fingertips," said Chapman.
Nestle Waters is also taking full advantage of InfinityQS' real-time alarms. Any events that occur require assignable cause and corrective action entries. Shop floor operators review, evaluate and respond to any events that occur, before they cause quality issues.