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Throughput is the time a job takes from start to finish

“What is the throughput in your plant?” asked Gole saab during a discussion on business process re-engineering This simple and important question made a big difference, it triggered action in this area. Looking back a few months, it was a little difficult question to answer, there was no measurement to determine what and how much our ‘throughput’ was.

Automatic paste printing (APP) to finished goods inventory (FGI). Before we took up the measurement project, there was a continuous flow of jobs within production. We did not keep track of when a job was placed and how much time it should take to get into FGI. October onwards my team started with the measurement activities, we thought we would do this over a period of two months. During these two months, we realised that measurement is a foundation for continuous improvement. A structured project was started, under the guidance of Dr Nyati, to achieve the throughput improvement objectives. It was aligned with achieving operations excellence and our strategic objectives, – first time right (FTR) and the creation of an effective supply chain.

A cross-functional project team was formed that included key members from Production, Quality, Production Process Engineering (PPE), Materials and Planning. The project commenced in December 2014 with action plans in hand. These were developed from the output of a series of brainstorming sessions and was followed by the performance evaluation of the practices. Every team member took responsibility and the team as a whole committed and agreed to be held accountable for meeting the agreed timelines. We focused on a number of key areas; from the Master Production Schedule (MPS) to the closure of non-conformance notes (NC) from FQA.

Living our belief “there is always a better way of doing things”

the team scanned every process involved in the production of products that constitute 95 per cent of production at BIA: GBSM, Liberty, Sprint, Premier and i-Credit family. There was some stock mismatch every time material requirements were raised, however, this was resolved by the materials team and now we always have 1 week’s stock for class A items, i.e. those products that are a priority. The stocking list is circulated to all concerned. This has resulted in zero mismatches. Now, there are no delays in the batch preparation as MPS is available with all functions involved. Having a plan in hand, our PPE team is ready with the batch exactly as required, also some Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are now defined for 17025 labs so that there are no delays and there is the smooth flow towards FGI. Pre-planning the jobs in queue for Final Quality Assurance (FQA) and measuring the turn around time (TAT) has helped regularise the process and hence this does not result in delays to building FGI. During this project, a concept called Gemba was introduced. Gemba basically means the physical presence of a person at the production site to observe and understand the processes.

The collaborative approach has brought great success. As a result, we have achieved our phase I target which was 85 per cent of the jobs to be finished in less than or equal to three days (PTH to FGI). We are at the end of phase II where the target was 75 per cent of the jobs to be completed in less than or equal to three days (APP to FGI) and we have achieved our goal.
‘What you do today can improve all your tomorrows”- Ralph Marston.
We are glad to see the improvements for a better tomorrow. The project, being aligned with strategic objectives, has helped in achieving an OTIF >90 per cent. We have better visibility of inventory.

In a learning organisation like Secure, each day brings new learning;

when we undertake such improvement drives, a treasure trove of learning follows. The team as a whole, besides learning technical skills, learnt the importance of taking initiative, power of cross-functional teams, time management, the law of two hands and experienced the power of the trim tab. They experienced a disciplined way to execute projects too.

With this our internal customer (Anuj Kumar Srivastava) whose strategic goal and his greatest challenge is to keep raw material inventory under control feels we are supporting him. He is able to predict our requirements with greater accuracy as well.

Keeping up the good work leading to ‘joyful effectiveness’ is the aim of all of my team members and we, as a team, are ready for the upcoming challenges.

-Vijay Horane