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Cost Reduction

"We would never been able to make these improvements without Fault Tree Modelling (Chartwell's best-in-class problem-solving technique)" - Spinning Production Leader


Industry 

Industrial products - synthetic fibres

Support Level

4 consultants leading 12 different improvement teams over a one year project

Objective

Reduce costs in the order of millions of euros to return company to profitability

Results

  • Labour efficiency increases of 30-40 % across multiple departments
  • Major sources of waste reduced by up to 90 %
  • Delivery times reduced 41 %

Why did this fibre manufacturer join forces with chartwell?

This German synthetic fibre manufacturer was under very high cost pressure; to return to profit, manufacturing costs needed to be reduced by several million euros per year.  To achieve this goal, substantial productivity improvements needed to be made across all factory departments, so Chartwell were brought on board to accelerate the work of the local team in delivering those savings.

The second largest cost in yarn manufacturing is labour and initial analysis showed there was scope to improve labour efficiencies by 25-40 % across most departments.

Results of the project

Spinning:

  • 26 % Labour efficiency improvement
  • 20 % more output on bottlenecked product group

Site Wide:

  • Labour efficiency increases of 30-40 % across other departments
  • Major sources of waste reduced by up to 90 %
  • Delivery times reduced 41 %

These improvements formed a solid basis for driving the turn-around of the business.

Examples of project work

 
Why did Spinning present particular challenges for labour efficiency?

FOCUS AREA 1:

Managing spinning labour usage was a complex operation, requiring 4 shifts to cover 5 floors and 18 different working areas.  Shift leaders had little visibility on who was doing what and when.

FOCUS AREA 2:

One of the key activities in spinning is to change over a wound spool to a new, empty one.  Spool changeovers account for 50-60 % of productive labour overall.

Why was the complexity of managing labour usage such a barrier in achieving an efficient operation?

PROBLEM:

The complexity was such a big issue because:

  • One of the most time consuming tasks is changing spools out when they reach a set weight
  • There are over 200 winders, and winding times varying between 4 and 28 hours – they could reach their set weight at any time
  • This complexity meant the department was operated on a ‘watchman’ basis and each area was constantly staffed, leading to long idle periods interspersed by frenzied activity


ACTION:

Several key actions were taken:

  • The team brought clarity to the shop floor staff and shift leaders by building a real time tool that predicted where and when spools would finish
  • This meant major improvements could be made to labour efficiency by having a smaller, flexible team with a smoother workload
How was it possible to speed up the well-practised process of changing over an empty spool?

PROBLEM:

The key issues were:

  • Workers must wait for an automated system to change over full spools to empty spools before they can start new spools running
  • Detailed analysis of every step of the automated cycle revealed there was a long waiting time between the machine being in a position to slide new spools into place, and actually doing so
  • When the waiting time was challenged, the team initially encountered resistance.  Due to the high speeds and perceived complexity of the system, most people had their own beliefs on why this waiting time might be necessary

ACTION

Solving this problem required in depth investigation of the control system:

  • Systematic investigation of the control system, using Chartwell’s Fault Tree Modelling complex problem solving methodology traced the waiting time back to an incorrectly placed valve
  • Removing the valve combined with some other improvements to the cycle reduced cycle time by 35 %