Lean Practitioner Projects

Bridget Freidel

Lean Practitioner Projects

Date: 3/25/2020

Company Name: Thomson Reuters, Core Publishing Solutions

Applicant: CI/Lean Business Process Analyst

The Project Name: Machine Optimization

The Team: Department Supervisors & Operators

 

The Company Description:

Thomson Reuters provides the intelligence, technology, and human expertise needed to find trusted answers for professionals across three different industries: Legal, Tax & Accounting, and News & Media.

One of the key business areas within Thomson Reuters is Global Print. We are a book manufacturer located on the Eagan, MN (1.3 million square foot) campus. We are among the top 10 book manufacturers in the United States providing digital, offset, and eBook solutions for Legal and 3rd Party customers.

http://corepublishingsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/

Problem Statement:

The average machine up-time over September and October 2019 was X% with standard deviation of 2.5%. This line is critical to our value stream, and the lack of performance can prompt needed overtime to meet customer demand and causes frequent disruption to operator and maintenance team members. The goal of this project is to apply DMAIC and Lean ideology to increase the average monthly machine up-time from X% to Y% by January 31st, 2020.

The process scope consists of the Gatherer to the Palletizer of the equipment line. Throughout the project timeline, a team will be solving the mechanical issues of the equipment, but this specific project team is focused on the prevention of future issues.

Timeline:

Milestone Owner Due Date Completion Date
Gain Access to equipment data Applicant & Supervisor 11/1/2019 11/1/2019
Develop changeover, calibration, and template Standard Work Instructions Applicant 11/15/2019 11/15/2019
Analyze data Applicant 11/22/2019 11/22/2019
Develop Fishbone Diagram for Root Cause Analysis Applicant 12/6/2020 11/11/2020
Implement Preventative Maintenance Schedule Applicant & Supervisors 1/1/2020 1/1/2020

Lean Tools Used:

  • DMAIC
  • Root Cause Analysis: Fishbone Diagram
  • Standard Work Instructions
  • Preventative Maintenance

Current State:

The equipment has capabilities to process both hardbound and softbound books. It is one of the most efficient machines in our value stream today, so it is essential that it runs productivity. There are typically three to four operators staffed at a time, and it runs on all three shifts. An overview of the current state process is as follows, where each color corresponds to a different operator. Additionally, there are multiple quality checkpoints throughout the process.

Picture 2: Current State Process

Throughout October and November 2019, technicians visited our site to repair and upgrade the equipment. The team was experiencing key equipment errors, which prompted the start of the Machine Optimization Project. For example, the first week of November had an average of A faults/day and B stops/day. The techs noted that the equipment was not being calibrated regularly, so the machine measurements were slightly off. At the time, the only written documentation operators referred to were the operating manuals.

Current State Activity Code Pareto:

The pareto shown above is for the machine showing the elapsed minutes the system is in for the different activity codes within a range of dates. The largest source of unplanned downtime according to the graph in October was “Auto-stops”. Auto-stops are defined as time where the binder is loaded with a job, but the books are not moving due to a fault or stop. Looking at the graph, the second largest source of unplanned downtime was “Emergency Maintenance”. The team anticipates challenges with the mechanical and software aspects of the equipment that would require technician support and communication between three shifts.

Goals:

The project goals included:

Goal Current After Results
Improve Uptime % on the Equipment

 

Y%

 

Alegro average Uptime %

 

X%

   
Create standard work instructions for changeovers, calibration, and template usage.

Attain 100%

No standard work instructions exist.

 

0%

 

 
Improve PM Completion Rate

 

Attain at least 95%

PM Completion Rate

 

50%

 

 

Major Project Activities and Challenges:

Standard Work Instructions

While the technicians were visiting, I recorded video of their demonstrations for how to properly operate and maintain the equipment. We created the following visual, standard work instructions by referring to the videos, technician feedback, operator feedback, and operating manuals to standardize the best-known process.

 

  • Changeovers
  • Referencing (Calibration)
  • Template Usage

I included a picture in each step to make the instructions visual and easy to follow. Many of the setup tasks use the control console. Icon descriptions are included with the corresponding functions. To ensure the documents are easily retrieved when needed, we added them as pdfs to the network drive as a desktop shortcut on all the computers along the equipment line. This way, an operator can quickly retrieve the instructions, and if an update is needed, the network folder owner can change all of the files at once.

Root Cause Analysis

The team brainstormed causes of downtime using the following root cause analysis fishbone diagram with the categories of Equipment, Process, People, Environment, Maintenance, and Metrics. We referenced the fishbone diagram when brainstorming improvement actions to reduce/remove the causes of downtime.

The major causes the team decided to tackle initially were related to the equipment faults and variation between operators. The purpose of the standard work procedures is to reduce variation in how operators perform tasks ensuring the best-known practice is followed. These documents will also be an aid for training new employees. We decided to create a Preventative Maintenance schedule for all operator level maintenance tasks, to ensure the equipment remains in good condition and is less likely to fault.

 

 

Preventative Maintenance (PM)

Due to the difficulty of balancing the time for operator level maintenance and keeping up with production needs, a regular PM schedule has been developed that began at the start of the year.  The team evaluated the current list of PM tasks and identified two of the tech’s recommendations that were missing: clean the pockets biannually and calibrate the equipment weekly. These were added to the PM list. We measured the amount of time needed per task to aid in determining the block of times allowed for operators to complete the tasks (27 tasks total). 25 of these tasks occur monthly, 1 occurs weekly, and 1 occurs every other week (See Appendix A for a picture of the PM Schedule). All monthly tasks are completed at the same time within a full shift. The team has started looking for ways to reduce the amount of time needed for some of the longer, complex tasks.

 

Scheduling Process

  1. 1st shift supervisor emails the date of the monthly PMs to the schedulers 2-weeks in advance. This date must fall within the first week of the month.
  2. 1st shift operators complete all monthly tasks on scheduled date.
  3. 2nd shift operators complete all weekly tasks on Fridays.
  4. Operators review schedule on Tier Board and check off when completed.

 

One of the challenges we faced was the implementation of PMs on 2nd shift as they have never had to do PMs in the past. Looking back on it, we could have more directly communicated with the operators to better walk them through the new expectations and how the schedule works. They were not used to viewing or updating our Preventative Maintenance tab in our system, which indicates when tasks are late. We overcame this challenge by monitoring the results, noticing the gap, and then communicating with the operators and supervisor.

 

Results and Final Conditions:

Goal Current After Results
Improve Uptime % on the Alegro

 

Y%

 

Alegro average Uptime %

 

X%

January Average Uptime

A%

 

March Average Uptime

B%

 

The average monthly uptime on the Alegro has improved by

4.5% to date.

Create standard work instructions for changeovers, calibration, and template usage.

Attain 100%

 

No standard work instructions exist.

 

0%

 

7 standard work instructions created

 

100%

Improved by 100%
Improve PM Completion Rate

 

Attain at least 95%

PM Completion Rate

 

50%

 

PM Completion Rate as of March

95.4%

Improved by 45.4%

The team did not achieve the Y% uptime goal in January but did make an improvement to A%. In March, the uptime improved to B%. Although the goal was not met, we are continuing efforts in 2020 to meet Y% and sustain. The standard work instructions were all completed, and the PM schedule has been implemented successfully. We have seen sustained positive results in our activity code tracking as a result of the PM schedule and Standard Work Instructions (see below). There have been less disruptions to operator and maintenance crews.

Final Condition Activity Code Pareto:

The Auto Stop and Emergency Maintenance have reduced dramatically. The Auto Stop category remains the largest source of downtime, and the team will continue to address it in Part 2 of the project. As a result of the PM schedule, the equipment condition is improved and is cleaner with more regular attention given to maintenance and removing paper dust/glue build up. The emergency maintenance crews now have more availability to work on other equipment in need across the facility.

Sustainment

Sustainment initiatives included:

  • A checklist on the bottom of the PM schedule for operators to mark off tasks after completion. The list is posted on their Tier Board, where all shift start meetings are held.
  • 1st Shift Hardbound supervisor and 2nd Shift Supervisor own the sustainment of the Preventative Maintenance schedule.
  • 1st Shift Supervisor and I hold weekly check-in meetings on project progress. These meetings are reoccurring throughout 2020 for future improvements as well.
  • The activity code breakdown is being monitored on a monthly basis.
  • The Standard Work Instructions are in a folder on the desktop of the equipment computers to ensure easy access and that the documents will not be lost.

Conclusions/Lessons Learned

Part 1 of the Equipment Optimization Project focused on the reduction of mechanical faults, improved upkeep of equipment, and the creation of standard work materials. We will continue to work towards a Y% average uptime goal, and then raise the goal after a period of sustainment. The next part of the project will focus on reducing setup time and implementing a new Tier Board solution. There may be opportunities to create PM schedules on other critical equipment in our Bindery as well.

Lessons Learned

  • I learned how Auto-Stops are measured.
  • Communication is key to project success and sustainment.
  • The uptime % goal was too high for the timeline given to the project. I could have picked a more attainable goal and then raised to Y% after a period of sustainment.
  • It would have beneficial to get more operators involved in the fishbone diagram creation.

 


 

Date: 11/17/2020

Company Name: Thomson Reuters, Core Publishing Solutions

 

Applicant: Lean/CI Business Process Analyst

 

The Project Name: Pocket Part Reprint – Make to Order

 

The Team: Project Manager, Distribution Team, Pre-Press Team, Press Team, Planning Team

 

 

The Company Description:

 

Thomson Reuters provides the intelligence, technology, and human expertise needed to find trusted answers for professionals across three different industries: Legal, Tax & Accounting, and News & Media.

 

One of the key business areas within Thomson Reuters is Global Print. We are a book manufacturer located on the Eagan, MN (1.3 million square foot) campus. We are among the top 10 book manufacturers in the United States providing digital, offset, and eBook solutions for Legal and 3rd party customers.

 

https://corepublishingsolutions.com

 

Peer: Manager Signature

 

Problem Statement:

Pocket Parts are side-stitched supplements that provide legal updates as new information is made available from the courts. A manila card is included on the back of the Pocket Part that can be inserted into a pocket in the back cover of the customer’s corresponding law book.

 

A new digital press has been installed with an in-line stitching machine extension, which will print and stitch Pocket Parts that have 5 7/8 x 9 ½’’ finished good size, run size less than 500 units, and no-odd titles (small orders). This project was selected as the planning team identified the need to define the individual Pocket Parts to stock process on the back end of the press and an opportunity to improve the current state process for both Press and Distribution.

 

In 2019, X individual Pocket Parts were sent to stock for future orders that meet the specifications to run on the new digital press. However, A% of the materials experienced 0 sales in the last 12 months. The objective is to reduce excess processing, transportation, and inventory wastes by implementing a Pocket Part reprint make to order process in the Digital Cut Sheet (DCS) department by July 6th, 2020. By implementing the Pocket Part reprint make to order process, the team estimates a 65% reduction in the number of individual Pocket Part materials stored in the warehouse and a reduction of labor for 1st print Pocket Parts by 900 hours.

 

Project Scope:

Individual Pocket Parts that meet the specifications to run on the new digital press:

  • 5 7/8 x 9 ½’’ finished good trim size.
  • Run size less than 500 units.
  • Belongs to a set with no odd titles.

Reprint Process Scope:

  • Individual Pocket Part sales order arrival to shipping.

 

The following items are out of scope:

  • Individual Pocket Parts that do not belong to a set will continue to be stored in the warehouse.
  • Pocket Parts that are printed on an offset press will continue to be stored in the warehouse.

 

Timeline:

Milestone Owner Due Date
Complete Pocket Part Sales Data Analysis Applicant 4/1/2020
Define Solution with Team and Test Solution Applicant / Project Manager

 

5/1/2020
Map Current State and Future State Process Applicant 5/14/2020
Create Standard Work Documentation Applicant 6/14/2020
Distribute Process Change Alert Applicant

 

7/6/2020

 

Lean Tools Used:

  • Process Map
  • Pull System (Make to Order)
  • Standard Work
  • Process Change Alert

 

 

Current State:

In the current state, five individual Pocket Parts are added to each first print production order to send to stock. The Pocket Parts are printed, stitched, goods receipt, processed for stock systematically, and then placed in the warehouse. If a sales order occurs in the future, the Pocket Part will be picked and packed from the inventory. This is a product that is replaced annually meaning that each bin of material is destroyed on an annual basis. Because there are Y unique, individual Pocket Part materials in stock, the labor needed to place in the location and destroy is significant. X of these materials are in scope by meeting the criteria to run on the new digital press.

 

The team started the project by meeting to provide background on the challenges the planning team was facing and to brainstorm potential solutions. The first idea identified was for distribution to remove individual Pocket Parts from the sets that are stored in stock and eliminate sending individual Pocket Parts to stock. However, there were multiple concerns related to organization and data accuracy. The second idea was to implement a Pocket Part reprint make to order process within Digital Cut Sheet (DCS), which specializes in short runs and digital printing. This is the solution that the team selected to pursue. Another benefit to the reprint solution is that there are already two existing manual stitching machines installed in the DCS room used for a unique product line that second shift handles.

 

To implement the new process change, the team first validated the Pocket Part reprint solution with data, defined the reprint workflow, tested the solution, and lastly created standard work to support the DCS operators and planners. Challenges anticipated were the increase in volume and mix of work in DCS and limited experience operating the manual stitchers across all three shifts.

 

Current State Process Map

Goals:

Goal Current After Results
Reduce the number of individual Pocket Parts stored in the warehouse by 65%. X unique, individual Pocket Part materials in stock.    
Reduce the annual labor required for individual Pocket Parts by 900 hours.

 

Z minutes spent processing each individual Pocket Part for stock.

 

   

 

Major Project Activities and Challenges:

 

Data Analysis

I received inventory data from the inventory analyst and pulled the first print PO data to filter the list to only pocket parts that are in scope. The graph below shows a histogram of each individual Pocket Part material and the corresponding 12-month usage (including current month). A% of the total materials had a 12-month usage of 0 sales. This data supports moving towards a Pocket Part reprint make to order solution, because of the waste in the current process for products that have no movement in the warehouse. The second most common 12-month usage bin was single orders.

 

[Histogram Picture]

 

I also analyzed the picking data to understand the distribution of sales across different MRP groups and the number of order occurrences that DCS could expect within a year. According to the 2019 data, the estimated number of total reprints would be B throughout a year.

 

Define and Test Reprint Solution

After validating the Pocket Part reprint solution, the team worked to define the PO structure and process.

The process is defined as follows (see Future State Process Map):

  • Manufacturing Client Services (MCS) runs the Alert Report daily to check for shortages. Because these Pocket Parts will have no stock, future orders will appear here.
  • MCS releases a reprint PO to the printer in DCS.
  • The file is imposed by the Digital Imposition team.
  • The operator prints the Pocket Part according to the PO and schedule using 8 ½ x 11’’ Lawbook 30# paper and trims to finished good size. The operator then stitches the Pocket Part with a manila card and completes the Goods Receipt.
  • The Pocket Part is delivered to the Loose-leaf Assembly Area in Distribution where it will be shipped.

 

The project team also tested the process by validating that the order would appear on the Alert Report with a test PO and ran a test file through DCS to ensure the production steps would be successful. Because the first shift operators had limited stitching experience, a Bindery stitching employee spent time with a DCS operator to walk through stitch head adjustments and answer questions.

 

Future State Process Map

Standard Work

I created a standard work document for print operators in DCS to use for training and reference of the reprint process. The document covers how to identify a Pocket Part reprint job on the schedule, how to produce the Pocket Part, and the quality aspects of an acceptable product. Each step in the document includes a picture, written instructions, and key points. See Appendix A for a sample of the standard work document. The standard work document will ensure that work is being done according to the best current practice.

 

One of the challenges we faced was a misunderstanding where Lawbook 35# paper was used instead of Lawbook 30# paper. These look identical and are similar weight, but thick Pocket Parts ran on 35# are too thick to fit properly in the back of the customer’s book. To address this, I added a key point in the standard work to explain why the correct paper selection was important.

 

Process Change Alert

I created a Process Change Alert (PCA) that was distributed a week before the go-live date of 7/6/2020. To better organize the document, I distributed a PCA that was specific to the DCS audience and a PCA that was specific to the MCS audience. See Appendix B for the MCS Process Change Alert document.

 

Results & Final Conditions:

The Pocket Part reprint process was implemented by the target date and the project goals were achieved.

 

Goal Current After Results
Reduce the number of individual Pocket Parts stored in the warehouse by 65%. X unique, individual Pocket Part materials in stock. Reduction of Y individual Pocket Parts sent to stock. 65% Reduction achieved.
Reduce the annual labor required for individual Pocket Parts by 900 hours. Z minutes spent processing each individual Pocket Part for stock. Reduction in labor by 927 hours. Overall annual labor and material savings of $A

 

This process has been running successfully, and C Pocket Part Reprint POs have been processed through DCS year to date (YTD). Core Publishing Solutions was able to achieve a total yearly savings of $Y due to the reduction in labor for processing first print Pocket Parts for stock and the reduction of materials to print additional copies.

 

Sustainment

The process is owned by the Prepress Supervisor as the production steps are being completed in DCS. To plan for a smooth transition into this process, I worked with the 1st shift Prepress supervisor to monitor the first few reprints through the process. We checked in regularly to exchange feedback. I also walked through the standard work document with operators and was present for questions during the first few reprints. Documentation is available for all to review the process steps and process change alert.

 

Conclusions/Lessons Learned

The team was able to successfully implement a Make to Order/Pull System for individual Pocket Part orders and reduce waste in the process significantly. The planning team was able to avoid introducing a new process on the back of the stitching line to send individual Pocket Parts to stock and the Distribution team benefited by reducing the labor placing, cycle counting, and destroying individual Pocket Parts that have little to no movement throughout the year. Multiple lean tools were used to throughout the project including process maps, pull system, and standard work, which all contributed to the success of the project and increased my experience using these tools.

 

Lessons Learned:

  • Process mapping the future state was a useful tool for defining the reprint PO structure and process with the team.
  • Communicating the why behind key process steps can help employee understanding of the process and could reduce the likelihood that the process will not be followed as designed.

Where else can this be used?

  • Revisit if we could benefit implementing the reprint process for remaining individual Pocket Parts that continue to be sent to stock from the offset presses and that have odd titles.

Suggestions for further improvements:

  • Provide additional training on how to operate and maintain the manual stitching machines.
  • Re-evaluate the manual stitching machine locations in the room to ensure they are in optimal locations.