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Article | March 31, 2001
Kit Kat Bites the 'Junkyard Dog'
To promote the best use of company equipment, Hershey Foods annually recognizes the team that saves the most money. Two packaging lines for Kit Kat Bites won for 2000.
A scuffed cast-iron statue of a Boston bull terrier mounted on a piece of wood is the symbol of the Junkyard Dog program an annual competition at Hershey Foods Hershey PA. The basic goal of the program is to reward project teams that save money through the best utilization of company assets either money or machines.“The award is focused on the dollar value of the equipment that a team has reused from a Hershey plant or something that they’ve purchased on the used equipment market” says Wade Latz Hershey’s manager of packaging systems engineering. “And it’s not limited to packaging; it could be for processing operations too.”Last year Bill Krokonko packaging systems engineer led the team that won the award for the stand-up pouch packaging for Kit Kat Bites a new product launched last July. The Junkyard Dog program operates under Hershey’s QTE (Quality through Excellence) umbrella and the award is typically presented at the Engineering and Technology Group’s year-end department meeting.Krokonko’s team discovered that two form/fill/seal stand-up pouch machines were being underutilized at one of Hershey’s plant. In essence says Krokonko his proposal was to move two relatively complete packaging lines to Hazleton PA to pack the Kit Kat Bites into 12-oz stand-up pouches. “The hearts of the lines are two pouch machines made by Bossar that are fed by two Yamato Dataweigh scale systems” Krokonko says. “We also used some existing conveyor systems a checkweigher and a case sealer too.” The equipment went into operation in July. Bossar equipment now comes from Bossar USA (Sarasota FL) although the equipment was being represented by Hayssen a Barry Wehmiller Co. (Duncan SC) when Hershey originally acquired it. Yamato is also represented by Hayssen.Even though Krokonko was absent from the meeting the Junkyard Dog trophy was presented to his team along with certificates of achievement. The other five finalists for the 2000 award says Joe Blade packaging systems engineer came away with shirts signifying their membership in the “Order of the Junkyard Dog.” Last year the competition generated some 16 nominations Blade says the highest number since the competition began.
“Sometimes the nominations are for equipment purchased at auctions but generally the goal is to find one or more Hershey machines rehabilitate them for a new project and then put them into production” Blade says. “We try to stimulate creativity in adapting existing machinery for a new job instead of spending X number of dollars on new equipment that’s customized for a specific project.”
Circulating throughout Hershey he adds is an inventory of equipment that’s sitting idle in a warehouse. In addition each plant has a cache of equipment that isn’t currently being used to its potential. “Sometimes when a project is submitted there’s a bit of ‘sticker shock’ by management” Blade says “and they ask us to look for other alternatives.
“Or the lead time on new equipment is too far out. When that happens the engineers make a trip to the warehouse to see what’s on hand” he notes. After all by employing used equipment the project can usually be completed more quickly.
The battered trophy rumored to have been purchased at a garage sale serves as a symbol of the true concept of the competition.
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