The main problems
The team found an ineffective waste recording system currently in place, which measured waste by weight rather than cost, with information not being used to drive improvements. There was also a lack of operator awareness as to the cost of waste and no communication between shifts. Colour complaints occurred on a regular basis, but given the department’s huge capacity, many issues remained hidden and were not investigated.
Using a Lean methodology, the team rolled out a new waste recording system that measured the cost of waste, including click charges, and organised weekly reports to the Operations Director. Whenever waste costs rose above £200, an investigation would automatically take place. Waste costs were briefed to operators and the information gathered was used to help solve problems on an on-going basis. In addition, twelve core operators were fully trained and a new shift communication hand-over system was set in place. The problem of colour complaints was resolved and, over a 60-day period, no further complaints were received.
New Standard Operating Procedures were set in place that addressed such issues as paper stocks, time stamps and checking procedures, full colour calibration, cold starts and improved workflow. Colour registration issues had resulted in HP engineers being constantly on site over the last two months, but once the new procedure was trialled, less set up and test sheets were required, enabling Harrier LLC to recover costs from HP.
Quantifying waste costs
The new waste recording system analysed the reason for waste, showing the number of sheets wasted and the category into which they fell: pre-production damage, test, maintenance or machine operator error and the percentage this represented against the total number of sheets ran.
To show the efficiency of the new system, the team compared waste costs over a two week period before and after the new SOPs were set in place. Between 15th – 31st May 2012, using the old SOP, a total of 116,463 sheets ran, with 18.7% waste. Between 15th – 31st October 2012, a total of 422,615 ran, using the new SOP, which resulted in only 4% waste. Notably, 306,152 more sheets were produced with less waste. Extrapolating the trial savings across annual volumes gives an annual saving of £127,680 and a one-off Indigo Tier 3 charge saving of £45,000. This gives a total annual year one saving of £178,611.
Opportunities for further savings
With relevant data readily to hand, Harrier LLC now had the means to negotiate a better deal producing even further cost savings. The team also looked into the practicalities of deploying a similar system in every department as a vehicle for driving problem-solving, ensuring operator engagement and minimising waste, with regular discussion and investigation.