Insights
The Excellence Factory

A good customer relationship begins in the factory. Any manufacturer who has installed efficient processes in their own operations helps customers by giving them the most important commodity of all: time.

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Insights
The Excellence Factory

Listening – the path to excellent production starts with a talk.

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Insights
The Excellence Factory

Regular communication with colleagues – frequently a source of new ways of making processes more efficient.

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Insights
The Excellence Factory

A look at the figures – Luiz Rossi must substantiate all reengineering of production processes with figures.

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Insights
The Excellence Factory

All colleagues are involved in implementation to ensure that the customer profits from shorter production times.

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Listening – the path to excellent production starts with a talk.

The Excellence Factory

Naturally, there is always something that can be improved. However, the fact that this can lead to such impressive results in a modern factory that has already installed optimized production processes nevertheless stunned Luiz Rossi. “By eliminating waiting times, operations excellence can usually reduce production time by 50 percent or more.” Rossi can let this statement stand for the time being.

The Brazilian is in charge of operations excellence at the Voith location in São Paulo. The turbines manufactured by the facility there are as large as a family house. Rossi and Leonardo Nuzzi, the head of production in Brazil, managed to halve the production time for generator components in the first stage of a company- wide initiative to streamline operations. The component is just one of roughly 20 key components and this illustrates the potential for even more timesavings. Voith plans to become even faster for its customers. Delivery dates are an important sales argument. Luiz Rossi says: “The earlier customers put their power plants into operation, the sooner they earn money.”

“If we want to keep raising the already high standards at our factories, we need a change in our mindset.” He is referring to the truism that less can be more.

Jürgen Lochner, responsible for operations excellence worldwide

  

Regular communication with colleagues – frequently a source of new ways of making processes more efficient.

When Jürgen Lochner talks of the Excellent Factory in Heidenheim, he knows he is speaking of an intangible good. “There’s no DIN standard for an excellent factory.” Yet Lochner, who is responsible for operations excellence in the Voith Group worldwide, has a clear idea of what excellence in production means. “If we want to keep raising the already high standards at our factories, we need a change in our mindset.” He is referring to the truism that less can be more.

This actually involves putting the cart before the horse, as the saying goes, for the production process of a product needs to be viewed from the perspective of the customer and followed backwards through the factory. Swimming against the current in this way led to the insight that there are steps which can be efficiently combined or are even unnecessary. For example, there are materials which spend more time in logistics and storage than actual processing. “Often these are trivial amounts of idle time, but in such a complex process they can add up to a significant figure,” says Lochner.

Luiz Rossi, in charge of operations excellence in Brazil, is passionate about transformations. His goal: shorter processing times.

A look at the figures – Luiz Rossi must substantiate all reengineering of production processes with figures.

Talking, changing mindsets, implementing the plan

In the turbine production in São Paulo the production of individual components can sometimes take several months. Yet the individual steps involved are measured in seconds sometimes. Luiz Rossi explains: “If there is a step that takes 30 seconds for example, then we do not necessarily want to reduce this time, but instead speed things up by investing this time only on high-quality work on the product and not on transporting material from A to B or looking for tools.”

Operations excellence is not a stand-alone savings program. Rather, it frees up valuable time in the various processes. The workers in the factory often have a very clear idea of how that works, as Luiz Rossi found out when he started the streamlining process in São Paulo. “Swapping notes with everyone involved in production is a key principle and the first step of our analysis.”

This is how a shift in mindset begins. Implementation is then a matter of setting quantitative goals for the ideas and plans. “We shouldn’t remain vague when we seek change,” says Jürgen Lochner. After carefully talking over the issues, work starts on the calculations.

With regard to the generator parts, for example, the time and motion studies of processing, storage and logistics delivered specific goals for a change in the mindset during production. Other details are also critically important: A change in the workflows of maintenance and programming improved machine operating hours by 50 percent. Stocks of materials at the machine were cut back, the workforce became more motivated and all of this will soon become noticeable to customers, for they will take delivery of their turbines even faster in future.

All colleagues are involved in implementation to ensure that the customer profits from shorter production times.