September 26, 2013
Statistical Process CONEtrol: How Ben & Jerry's Ensures Superior Product Quality
Fans of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream are sold on the company’s ability to produce goods with unwavering quality. They know that every single time they open a carton of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, they can expect a premium product that will not disappoint.
The company, however, was having difficulty achieving this due to the fact that its paper and pencil based manufacturing quality control systems were simply not getting the job done. There are many individual components that go into a carton of ice cream, such as chocolate, fruit and nut levels.
According to Vice Presdient of Statistical Methods at Infinity QS Steve Wise, Ben & Jerry’s executives could not easily verify that each carton of ice cream had the proper ratio of assorted ingredients. This was creating major problems along the manufacturing line.
“They needed to get better controls over their processes – to predict how much product they needed to bring in the door,” Wise said.
For about 20 years, Ben & Jerry’s been relying on internal systems to gauge quality control. This included man-made calculations and the use of Excel spreadsheets. As a result, the process was inefficient.
For a company like Ben & Jerry’s, there is no room for product inconsistency. People are connected to this type of product, and so it must constantly remain at a high level. This is a core piece of the organization’s operational structure. As a solution, therefore, the company decided to implement InfinityQS in its production facilities.
The first step for Ben & Jerry’s was to identify the quality metrics that needed to be adjusted. The company figured out its production levels and discovered where improvement was needed. Data models were established on two production lines. Then, following InfinityQS’s signature two-step process, production measurements expanded to more production lines, a list of tasks were established to not only enhance the way that products were deployed, but also train employees and suppliers in the process.
As a result of the tremendous visibility that Ben & Jerry’s has gained into their production process, InfinityQS has been named a 2013 Great Supply Chain Partner by SupplyChainBrain.
For more information on its ProFicient software solution, and to see how you can implement it in your manufacturing facility, please click here.