OpX Work Products: From Concept to Implementation

FSO’s 12 Dimensions of Manufacturing Health and OpX work products combine to help solve challenges that include total cost of ownership, overall equipment effectiveness, asset reliability, workforce engagement, and more.

For more than a decade, PMMI’s OpX Leadership Network has provided an ongoing forum for consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and their suppliers to share, discuss, and solve significant challenges they face in pursuit of operational excellence. As a result, more than 20 best-practice process improvement documents have been published to aid in workforce engagement, total cost of ownership (TCO), overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), factory acceptance tests (FATs), requests for proposals (RFPs), remote equipment access, and hygienic equipment design, just to name a few.

From the beginning, CPGs and suppliers participating in the OpX Leadership Network sought to create guidance documents that would not be treated as white papers sitting on a shelf collecting dust. They wanted them to be dynamic, actionable documents that could actually improve day-to-day operations. The documents, therefore, needed to be adopted and integrated into production operations in order to derive their full benefit. This approach made both the documents and the OpX Leadership Network developing them unique. It explains, in large part, why the PMMI-convened OpX Leadership Network endures more than a decade after its inception.

While the development of these guidance documents provided a roadmap for CPGs and their suppliers, it left unanswered guidance on how these documents could be implemented, especially for CPGs, many of which were still dealing with the “thinning” or downsizing of their respective operations. Several looked to the FSO Institute, an outsource service provider, to help them implement OpX Leadership Network work products. In a short time, the FSO Institute and OpX Leadership Network developed the 12 Dimensions of Manufacturing Health, which, in part, address the implementation of OpX Leadership Network work products. To ensure an ongoing opportunity for continued dialogue around the implementation of these and other solutions, the FSO Institute formed the Manufacturing Health Roundtable (MHRT), which now has more than 30 CPG members.

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Case 1: It’s on the schedule, so why isn’t it happening? 

Here is a frequent CPG refrain: Production is scheduled and put on the calendar for all to see, but when blending, packaging, etc., occur, there are often components missing. This causes loss of production line utilization, increased man-hours, missed on-time shipments, and customer complaints. The solution seems to be scheduling, but are there underlying causes not identified?

OpX work products that can help solve these challenges include TCO, OEE, asset reliability, and workforce engagement documents.  

For example, the OEE calculation model shows the gap between calendar production potential, OEE production potential, and net good production, as well as factors contributing to the gap. Use of this OpX tool can reveal the impact of OEE loss and capacity utilization loss as determined through actual calculations of users’ own data. The OpX Asset Reliability document provides a deeper dive into just how planned and unplanned downtime contribute to OEE. In addition, the Workforce Engagement document can help identify the attributes contributing to workers’ less-than-acceptable discretionary efforts and suggest ways for improving them.

Case 2: Hurry up and wait (on quality)!

Here’s another challenge CPGs frequently encounter: Quality assurance seems to slow down or make it almost impossible to meet production scheduling deadlines, with super strict rules and oversight causing conflict between team members. Are quality standards the root cause, or are there missing tools that will create common acceptance and the ability to achieve desired deadlines?

This case provides a good illustration of challenges found in the quality dimension of FSO’s 12 Dimensions of Manufacturing Health, and there is no shortage of OpX guidance documents to help solve them. For example, the OpX Allergen Checklist provides guidance on everything from assembling the cross-functional allergen team to determining the equipment and preventive controls process steps to conduct validation studies, all to make sure there is a safe, effective, and efficient allergen cleaning validation process in place.

Similarly, the OpX guidance document, “Validating the Reduction of Salmonella and Other Pathogens in Heat Processed Low-Moisture Foods,” provides detailed steps to ensure preparation, execution, and follow-up regarding the kill step in manufacturing low-moisture foods, especially for those companies that might not have food safety or microbiological professionals on staff.

When it comes to equipment related to safety and quality, “One Voice for Hygienic Equipment Design for Low-Moisture Foods” features details on how to implement a joint collaboration process in equipment design and use for CPGs and OEMs, as well as details on criteria for the design and construction of equipment used in a low-moisture manufacturing environment. For cleaning and sanitizing this and related equipment, “CIP for CPGs: Clean-in-Place Guidelines for Consumer Packaged Goods Manufacturers” provides guidance for actual clean-in-place (CIP) steps, CIP equipment and sanitary design, and instructions on validation compliance activities. 

Case 3: Price-only purchasing woes    

Another common scenario encountered by many CPGs: “We just can’t seem to find the right equipment for the right application and satisfy corporate and management budget constraints at the same time. Could a review of the capital approval process with asset application and reliability help find common ground for successful asset development?”

At the heart of the OpX TCO document are the processes required to assess the true cost of equipment by focusing on acquisition and operating costs. The document also provides guidance on determining the scope of the TCO being applied to ensure equipment meets its intended purposes.  

The recently revised OpX TCO document also integrates several other critical OpX documents to help ensure that equipment being considered fits the application, delivers the desired results, and meets the project budget. These include the OpX OEE, RFP, FAT, Asset Reliability, and Remote Equipment Access guidance documents. The recently released OpX Asset Reliability work product includes a calculator to help CPGs determine the “size of the prize” when it comes to determining the financial impact of even the slightest improvements in the planned and unplanned downtime of assets.

These cases show that many of the challenges faced by CPGs for each of the 12 Dimensions of Manufacturing Health identified by FSO Institute’s MHRT have solutions that can be implemented, in large part, by OpX guidance documents. Together, OpX and FSO can drive significant improvements in operational excellence. 


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