The company is in the business of providing high-end glass packaging for wine, spirits, food, gourmet and home fragrance. Through a series of very targeted acquisitions, it has grown rapidly to become a multinational company with sales of 1.8 billion, with a strong presence in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) market.
The integration of different companies within the group, each with its own processes and structures, had brought the entire organization to a level of complexity that was difficult to manage. As new resources were added, knowledge assets were becoming less and less structured and consolidated due to a lack of time and tools to share them. Business processes suffered, leading to planners and staff often floundering on deadlines and projects.
There were gaps in procedures due to lack of knowledge of all steps by all technicians resulting in uneven quality.
High specialization and technical know-how could not translate to their full potential and it was difficult to be able to evaluate performance, especially when the comparison had to be made between the results of the different entities acquired.
Acquisitions thus risked bringing more cost than competitiveness over time.
The proposal was to map the processes in place and derive unambiguous parameters to evaluate them, and then develop structured improvement plans applicable in the short and medium term. Value Stream Map is one of the most suitable tools to avoid getting lost in biblical reconstructions, especially when dealing with complex organizations. The graphical representation of the flow of processes, which affect the products or services you want to analyze or develop, has the advantage of immediately highlighting strengths and weaknesses, where value is dispersed and where it is concentrated. It is crucial, when it comes to quality, to move from a certification perspective to a value perspective since the former has little impact on production reality and therefore on turnover while the latter really creates a difference. Alongside flow mapping, team leader training was proposed to coordinate individual projects and be immediately operational.
The operational phase
Rebuilding and unifying processes following business acquisitions enables increased performance and competitiveness in the shortest possible time."
The first step was to assess the different departments' awareness of the state of their processes and where they stood in relation to the best companies in the industry in terms of quality. This is a very delicate moment because it can lead to defensive closures, whereas a clear analysis of the current state is the indispensable basis for all subsequent operations.
The second step focused on data collection, which was very fragmented and often missing. Therefore, a large part of the consultancy was devoted to identifying and mapping, through the Value Stream Map, the processes of the phases or sectors that had the greatest potential for improvement, so as to make it possible in a very short time program to classify projects with specific quality objectives and organized according to a clear list of priorities.
The mapping enabled the construction of common quality indicators to refer to in each plant and for each process.
Finally, metrics were identified, knowledge of which was useful in monitoring the weakest, deficient points of the organization and assessing the quality of performance.
Application of the method led to a quality improvement plan that was made operational immediately, and the results, in just 4 months, were:
- 10 international priority projects completed
- 7 Team Leaders trained on the methodology of conducting improvement projects.
Clear and unambiguous metrics have been identified and included to evaluate:
- the cost of non-quality
- the reduction of production defects
The consequence was a 20 percent improvement in RFT (Right First Time), which is the parameter that assesses the quality of the prototype and therefore of the first production, elevating which results in a significant decrease in costs.
Proper mapping of processes, of clear quality indicators and precise evaluation parameters, makes it possible to develop improvement projects very quickly with real effects on efficiency and cost containment."
Federico Barbic - Partner ŌdeXa