How Operational Excellence Helped a Large-Scale Bakery Optimize Its Production Line
Our client is a private, independent distributor of bakery products for retailers and restaurants, using a state-of-the-art bakery to set a new standard for quality and food safety.
The company’s leadership team also works to automate and find efficient processes for creating the best product in the industry. When one of its production lines started experiencing downtime and quality issues, its leaders immediately wanted to identify where the problem existed so they could optimize production.
They needed to resolve these issues fast because the downtime severely impacted the bakery’s ability to meet customer demand and to conduct research trials to develop new products. To continue serving customers, its leaders knew they needed an outside perspective into its processes.
Enter Centric: Process Improvement for Continued Growth
The bakery partnered with Centric Indianapolis and our Operational Excellence practice to both improve its production process and develop sustainable process improvement capabilities across the organization.
We used a two-fold approach. First, we dove into the company’s current operations with a process and capability assessment to determine how to streamline and resolve its current issues. Then, we built a training roadmap to address company-wide and job-specific requirements for each role.
Process and Capability Assessment: Finding the Root Causes
Centric worked hand-in-hand across all levels and departments in the organization to identify and isolate root causes of the production issues. We worked with production leaders to develop performance boards to capture and track critical process metrics.
By working alongside client supervisors and implementing remote video monitoring capabilities, we were able to quantify waste and process issues at crucial points in the production process. This allowed us to then make the necessary adjustments to the production line.
We could then make technical food production recommendations, such as adjusting line speeds and dough set times, to resolve the bakery’s immediate issues with downtime and quality. But we also wanted to ensure the company would know what to do should any similar problems occur in the future.
Analytic-Based Training Program: The Building Blocks of Stability
While the assessment and new production recommendations are essential in preventing issues now, we knew the bakery would need ways to avoid them later on as well. Together, we developed a training roadmap to ensure governance, clarify process boundaries, develop process dashboards and implement a daily management plan to enable and sustain change.
As an analytics-based training program, it would break each job down into critical building blocks so we could train for skills needed on the production line. Our efforts included:
- Assessing each operator on all five job roles to determine proper staffing
- Standardizing processes for each position
- Creating training materials, along with a curriculum and timeline, which incorporated both classroom and hands-on experience to facilitate a full-knowledge transfer
- Cross-training every new employee to provide process flexibility moving forward
- Conducting training assessments after executing the training program
- Working with business unit managers to staff new employees
The Results: Higher Productivity, Better Efficiency, and Improved Employee Satisfaction
Using existing production data and implementing innovative data collection tools, our bakery client managed to truly quantify the magnitude of the production losses and implement the necessary solutions to optimize its operations.
Previously, the organization relied on job shadowing and institutional knowledge from more experienced operators to train new team members. This process resulted in non-standardized job tasks and training gaps in each role, negatively impacting employee satisfaction, productivity and efficiency.
By unifying executive leadership, production business unit managers, and key members of the quality department around a clear vision, we successfully developed and implemented a training program that resulted in improved efficiency for the new production line.
The company’s new production line, training program and optimized processes are now working together as a cohesive unit, so it can continue to experiment with new product lines and create a better experience for customers and employees alike.