Case Study 3 – Waste Elimination
The Label Status Table (LST) is a crucial part of the labels process in the Commercial, Registration and Supply Chain Departments at Barclay Chemicals. However, one staff member reported that it had become too big and cumbersome to manage. Certainly, waste elimination is a key component of Lean tools.
Therefore, this employee identified an opportunity to move the LST to an alternative database on SharePoint. As a result, this would make the process easier, quicker and more user friendly. The organisation estimated that label scrappage has costed them €310,000 over a 3 year period.
- Labels currently take on average 45 days to complete.
- They were scrapping 14% of total labels ordered on average per year.
- Approx 3.33% of total labels ordered are scrapped due to admin error / mistakes on the label (29% of total scrap).
The objective of this Lean project was to:
- Reduce label completion time from 45 days to under 30 days. This would represent a reduction of 35%.
- Reduce avoidable / administration errors, annual label scrappage costs from an average of 3.33% to 2%.
8-Step Problem-Solving Process
In trying to solve a particular problem, we advise using the 8-Step Problem-Solving Process:
- Current State
- Root Cause Analysis
- Select Countermeasures
- Standardisation & Learnings
First of all, we ran a Kaizen event with the company. Consequently, this identified the issues causing the LST to be unfit for its purpose. This enabled all team members to have an equal opportunity to voice their opinion. Certainly, this worked very well as they generated a total of 33 issues in 5 minutes.
Following this event, we held a team meeting to plot the issues on to an Impact/Ease Chart. This helped us identify all of the issues associated with the Label Status Table. Then, they were able to focus on the most relevant issues and come up with countermeasures.
- To start with, there were duplicate entries. The information required was on the wrong line. As a result, the system was open to error and bad data entry.
- Next, there was no tracking of changes. Furthermore, there was no notification process. So, the Actions Section was too large.
- Then, there was information missing on the system. Moreover, this was a labour intensive exercise as chemicals names were not uniform.
- Finally, not all information was useful.
The company agreed to hold regular team meetings. All team members decided the fields and layout of the database using an agreed layout of the label tracker and dashboard. Management have estimated that this Lean project reduced annual label scrappage costs by approximately €40,000 per year.
- It is critical to have user input to ensure that the finished system is suitable for all.
- It is very important to have all team members present at regular meetings to ensure we are all on the same page.
- Keeping minutes of each meeting with agreed actions and decisions was vital to keeping us all on track.
- Everyone on the team brought something different to the project as we were all from different departments and used the system for different reasons. Fields that some people felt were unnecessary were in fact a crucial part of somebody else’s role.
- There was a lot of re-arranging and adjusting of how certain fields worked once we actually began to test the system.
- It was challenging to get the project completed while trying to keep on top of other work.
We firmly believe that the expertise to develop business process improvements already exist in every organisation. This has clearly been the case in Barclay Chemicals. Through their employees’ Lean projects, the company has made significant continuous improvements to their business.
ETAC has worked with Barclay Chemicals to streamline their business and improve their processes. We hope you enjoyed reading about this case study on Waste Elimination. You may be interested in reading the two other case studies featured here: Case Study 1 – Preventive Maintenance and Case Study 2 – Continuous Improvement. All our case studies are available here.