Quality Manufacturing - Taking Plant Quality from Worst to First
A packaging manufacturer uses statistical process control methods to turn its last-place plant to best-in-company, reducing defects, scrap, and rework.
One of the more meaningful and exciting examples of helping organizations to make a dramatic transformation in their performance was this company. It was a folding carton company that we worked with several years ago.
And I got a phone call from the plant manager, who said, “Look, we got a real challenge here. Our quality manufacturing has degraded to the point where our customers are going to cancel multi-million dollar contracts.” And if they were to do that then that would put the entire plant of 315 plus people in jeopardy and those people could lose their jobs. The plant could close. And this is in a very small southern city—that if that plant closed it would have a dramatic effect on the economy of that town where that plant was. So, this is a very serious thing.
And so we worked with this company, and they're making folded cartons at a very fast pace, and the defects that were coming out were just the result of neglect and older equipment and all that. And so what we did was we set it up so that they were able to gather defects information over a couple of weeks, and then they aggregated that. And what happened was, we were able to find out where those defects were coming from, where the source of those defects were, and we're able to uncover the root cause of those defects.
And so, the engine engineering team was involved, the operators were involved, the management team was involved in fixing these things. And it was a very focused effort. And over six months they literally completely eliminated all defects. They became the highest quality manufacturer throughout their entire enterprise of all 20-plus plants in this company. They went literally from worst to first in terms of quality. And not only did they save that plant from closing and save those jobs at that plant, but they were able to blow away their customers in terms of the quality of the cartons they were getting. It was truly a transformational event, where quality completely transformed the performance of that plant and saved it from closing.