A food and beverage company was excited about projected sales growth for one of their products and knew increased demand would soon outpace their production capabilities. They were planning a multi-million-dollar capital expansion to meet this demand which showed an attractive return. Even with this viable option on the table, leaders were curious whether an alternative existed that could meet their demand needs faster and at lower cost.
Finding More Opportunity
Over the previous twelve months the process had increased performance and was running at its name-plate speed and a benchmark OEE for that product. Traditional analysis showed little opportunity existed to push this unit further. Stroud helped the team look for opportunities with a different approach. By isolating each mechanical component of the process and assessing its theoretical maximum capability, the team found that all but one component of the unit actually had excess capacity. The entire unit was only limited by a cutter in the middle of the process. The next question to answer was how to increase the capacity of the cutter.
Plant leaders now saw three options: try to further improve their existing asset, invest in a minor capital upgrade, or continue building a new unit. By narrowing their focus to increasing only cutter capacity, the team found a decommissioned cutter was idle in the plant scrap yard that could be run in parallel with the existing unit. Although repurposing the idle cutter required investment, it was a fraction of the cost and time requirement of other solutions, and yielded a much greater investment return.
Process throughput increased 50% after the repurposed cutter was installed. Building quick and inexpensive capacity on this unit allowed the plant to meet their growing demand for the next several years and redeploy millions in capital towards further accelerating other growth projects.
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