Case Study: Chemical

chemical

AT A GLANCE
  • Specialty Chemical manufacturer
  • Manufacturing facility located in the southwest
  • 600 employees
Financial Highlights
  • 3.3 return on investment
Project Scope
  • 4 Chemical manufacturing systems
  • Maintenance operations
Project Highlights
  • 18% efficiency improvement in optimized batch process operations
  • 17% Reduction in planned outage costs
  • Empowered Front Line Employees
  • 13% Reduction in natural gas usage
Project Milestones
  • Created site specific energy utilization models that quantified operational improvements for: Steam, Natural Gas, and Electricity & Nitrogen
  • Developed 2 energy action team leaders that accomplished results.
  • Installed appropriate “start-up” and “shut-down” procedures to eliminated redundant or non-productive process running
  •  Coordinated appropriate maintenance and repair of ancillary processes, in order to optimize operations

PROCESS IMPROVEMENT

The client is a mid-sized manufacturer of chemicals used in the injection molding Industry. Prior to engaging The AMS Group, they recognized a need to improve production performance. Due to changes in the manufacturing regulations, as well as, competitive competition, it was critical that quality and production rates be improved in order to maintain their current market share.

chemicalThe AMS Group was engaged to analyze and assess the operations available opportunities to improve performance. The assessment was conducted over a 2 week period. Throughout this time, detailed studies were conducted on each functional manufacturing process to understand their maximum potential as well as their current levels of output. Additionally, frontline supervisory and management personnel participated in behavioral studies. The assessment process identified over 47 unique opportunities that were driven by poor management behaviors that resulted in manufacturing losses that could potentially be recovered. Operating deficiencies included operators not operating critical equipment at required specifications, schedule process control checks not executed on time, preventative maintenance work not completed. Supervisors did not identify and take action on deviations from planned control points. This facility utilized a combination of “batch” and “continuous” processes. The analysis determined that employee’s routinely would operate batch process equipment as “continuous” hence; process equipment was left in the “idle” mode consuming energy.

Working with the client and creating cross functional action teams, The AMS Group developed team facilitators and trained them in results driven problem solving.  These teams determined that the “root-causes” for this behavior was that the floor operators were NOT adequately trained to “shutdown and startup” the associated equipment so the equipment ran continuously. The AMS Group immediately began an employee training program and standard startup/shutdown procedures on all process lines.

Furthermore, the frontline employees were trained to indicate “lost time” codes associated with operations and simple paretos determined that process equipment was left “idle” because equipment was difficult to “start-up.” Maintenance focused on increasing start-up & shutdown reliability of process equipment. These actions replaced the “run equipment until failure” philosophy. This also changed the behavior of the management team to one that was proactive in addressing variances to planned levels of performance.

In addition to developing appropriate “start-up/shutdown” procedures, The AMS Group implemented process department specific operating reports. These reports allowed the supervisors to communicate the ratio of production vs. energy usage. They also allowed supervisors to set daily goals relative to best demonstrated and theoretical energy requirements. All improvements were quantified by a facility wide energy utilization model relating the billing meter with production.