Optimizing Lithium Processing
Challenge: North American Specialty Chemical company was under significant cost pressure to reduce operating cost by at least 10 percent and improve production predictability concurrently.
OUR ANALYSIS FOUND
Safety performance was lower than desired due to disengagement and high level of risk tolerance among employees.
The organizational structure could be improved (fewer levels) to lower operating costs
Supervisors were not providing consistent direction or support to lead their teams to optimal performance.
Employee productivity was low due to unclear expectations, work standards, and lack of active supervision.
Operators were not consistently updated regarding production targets, which resulted in missed production schedules and customer shipments.
Maintenance and reliability resources were focused on “catching up” instead of long-term fixes.
Implemented integrated safety meetings and procedures across the site.
Installed Management System to drive desired behaviors.
Redesigned the organizational structure with clear roles and responsibilities.
Improved decision making by moving accountability to individual levels.
Coached all supervisors and managers on leadership, active supervision techniques, Gemba walks, and continuous improvement tools.
Delivered daily production and yield improvements in all units by eliminating waste and providing short-interval control to operators.
Improved interface between Quality Assurance and Production departments; balanced/leveled load delivery schedule.
Implemented production planning, inventory controls, SAP training, managed supplier contracts, and balanced logistics.
Defined critical equipment and implemented reliability program; improved planning and scheduling.
Results of our engagement include:
Increased unit production in two areas by 15% and 35% respectively.
Improved raw material unit yield in two areas by 1% and 3%.
Increased craftsmen utilization by 20-30%.
Reduced fixed cost by 15%.
“This work has really transformed my plant and the people in the plant to consistently achieve higher production. I now trust my supervisors to do the right things every shift.”