Supply Chain & Production Pinch Points

Supply Chain & Production Pinch Points

01| Challenge

  • 3 Production plants – Southeastern United States
  • Paper plates manufacturing experiencing significant downtime
  • Plants would experience events where stacks of paper plates would back up on conveyor systems and either fall on to the ground or plug up the system, quite often tall stacks of paper plates would fall over on the conveyor belt causing paper plates to spread over the conveyor belt ruining orders. Operators would have to shut the system down, clean up and reset all lines, production was often shutdown for hours.
  • Under certain conditions, bottlenecks appeared to move around the plant based on what product was being made. Different system like packaging would need to be slowed down to accommodate taller stacks versus smaller stacks. A clear understanding was needed to understand under what conditions certain events and bottlenecks occurred.  Personnel resources were also possible limitations (Ex: availability to make needed changeover).
  • Several debottlenecking projects were also under investigation since the company wanted to debottleneck and expand the largest location.

02| Solution

  • Caravel Solutions developed a simulation of the first plant as a pilot. The Simulation was so well received all plants were simulated.
  • Simulations modelled Plate presses, Conveyor systems, Visual Sorting, Packaging lines, Pelletizing, Robots, etc.
  • Key actions and tasks were simulated such as Start ups and shutdowns, Paper Roll Changeovers, Change overs at Packaging, Visual system sorting, Material and personnel movements and handling including expected downtime issues.

03| Results

  • Production planning rules were created to establish “compatible products” for the system to ensure the configuration of the system for one type of product did not create a bottleneck for others. Example: Some products due to bottlenecks moved slower in the system than others so the system would be limited by the slowest product.  Changeovers were minimized with new production rules.
  • Key technology changes were made to reduce debottlenecks and changeovers
  • Reliability program was also improved to reduce downtime
  • Simulation was used to explore multiple CAPEX expansion and debottlenecking scenarios at all 3 plants.

EBITDA IMPACT was More than $12 MILLION / YR


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