Pet Nutrition Facility Operational Efficiency

Confidential Client Location: Midwest USA
A pet food company hired CRB to perform an industrial engineering study for its pet food nutrition facility. Current work practices were not efficient and were highly manual and repetitious. 

The objective of the study was to understand the current work practices and procedures, recommend opportunities to improve efficiency by optimizing work processes/flows—making effective use of people and technology—address ergonomic and safety issues and increase the overall productivity of the site allowing more tests in the future. The study focused on different types of animal colonies, central services and the cleaning and kitchen area.

CRB conducted a detailed operations analysis to understand daily routine tasks (frequency and duration), workflows (to identify issues), pain points and improvement opportunities. An operations analysis tool that listed all tasks performed and labor required to perform those tasks was also developed. Spaghetti maps were also developed to capture the travel frequency and distance to complete daily activities.

Over 80 improvement opportunities were identified with an aim to increase capacity, reduce non-value-added activities and improve safety and ergonomics. Major takeaways and improvement opportunities from the study are listed below:

  • The purpose of the facility is testing, but the majority of labor is spent on support activities. Only 24 percent of technicians’ time is actually spent on testing. This time can be increased by implementing certain recommended improvement opportunities.
  • Almost 50 percent of technicians’ time is spent on cleaning activities. Improving cleaning operating procedures, eliminating redundant steps during/after cleaning, adopting different cleaning technology and defining roles and responsibilities for technicians reduced their cleaning time, allowing them to focus on more test-related activities.
  • Adjacencies were identified, and the layout was reconfigured to reduce travel distance and time. The proposed improvement options resulted in an annual reduction of over 350 labor hours. No significant capital investment was required to achieve these changes.
  • A capacity model was developed and will be used by area owners to better schedule their resources and increase focus on value-added activities.
  • New layouts for benches were also proposed with an aim to reduce wasted motion and time and improve ergonomics.
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