Learning the recipe for streamlining food processing

Tuesday, 15 March, 2022 | Supplied by: TXM Lean Solutions Pty Ltd

Learning the recipe for streamlining food processing

With 30 years’ experience, Earlee Products is an ingredients supplier to Australian and global food manufacturers. The company partners with food and beverage manufacturers across Australia and the world, using technical expertise to solve challenges and identify new opportunities in the food innovation space.

Renowned for its ability to improve and enhance food products to capitalise on changing consumer trends, Earlee Products has the ability to customise methods to solve food problems. Whether enhancing taste, texture or visual appeal, improving manufacturing cost efficiencies, offering cleaner, more sustainable alternatives or ensuring food safety, quality and functionality, the company applies science, technology and creativity to innovate better food outcomes.

The challenge

Earlee Products produces a wide range of lines for different customers, which meant production is changed frequently throughout the day causing disruption to crews and workflow. Wet and dry production are completely different processes involving long and time-consuming changeovers. The company found it hard to have the correct lines in place to reduce changeover and lead time.

When TXM first started working with Earlee Products, all departments and department leaders had no real understanding of ‘lean’ and its benefits. Employee buy-in was therefore a key challenge to make the project a success.

TXM found departments were like silos; they only really talked to each other when there was a problem that needed solving. The siloed communication created a considerable barrier to the success of the project, and this needed to be handled in a way that would engage staff from all departments.

The TXM lean solution

Value Stream Mapping was used to identify the departments and their communications channels. This highlighted the lack of communication between departments. The mapping session identified which products would limit the number of changeovers and which work needed to be prioritised each day.

TXM then created a lean crash course program for every single employee to get them buying into the project and giving an understanding of lean and its benefits. Senior Management undertook a week-long intensive lean masterclass on lean implementation and what it would mean for the success of the project.

Every single employee was put through a 40-minute lean training session. Managers of all departments were brought together showing their roles and how they would contribute to the transformation.

This accelerated learning, and progress of the teams at Earlee Products allowed them to get runs on the board fairly quickly. The operations manager was appointed Lean Champion with other supervisors becoming quasi-Lean Champions for their departments.

A communications structure and daily meetings were introduced across all departments to communicate issues and raise concerns. Extensive visual management was introduced across all departments with daily stand-up meetings. Proper work standards were introduced with the work now being spread across teams/departments.

Each department now has its own continuous improvement (CI) board where a CI Initiative is worked on each month as a way of continuing their lean journey and empowering new employees in a new culture.

The results

TXM Support at Earlee Products delivered outstanding business improvements over 12 months:

  • DIFOT increased from 70% to 98% within 9 months.
  • Realigned roles were implemented in the business.
  • Production waste is monitored and has reduced by half over the last 18 months.

“The TXM Consultant is an enthusiastic mentor who was able to take our entire company on the lean journey. He built sustainable and meaningful platforms for our team enabling a continuous improvement environment,” said Michael D’Allura, Commercial Manager at Earlee Products.

“The consultant mentored the team through the implementation process ensuring full understanding and followed up with a comprehensive assessment to track our progress and opportunities.”

TXM will be available at AUSPACK 2022 on stand C254 where there will be copies of Tim McLean’s book Grow Your Factory, Grow Your Profits: Lean for Small and Medium Sized Manufacturing Enterprises.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Yaruniv-Studio

Online: www.txm.com
Phone: 1800 319 552
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