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Say hello to real-time performance management

What if packaged goods manufacturing as we know it embraced real-time performance management? What if plant floor operators received continuous feedback on how they are doing instead of finding out a day or so later?

Scott Klages of Parsec, a developer of customized electronic subsystems in packaging machinery, is convinced that this would be a very good thing. “It's better for people on the plant floor because it makes them more aware of and focused on the goal. Suddenly people are applying more creativity and energy toward being more productive. And it's better for the enterprise because it brings the kind of asset utilization that produces true productivity gains.”

Klages addressed this topic in a November 1 presentation at The Conference at Pack Expo. In a recent phone conversation, he shared a few tips on what a packaged goods company needs to do if it plans on initiating a real-time performance management program.

• Make sure there's top-management buy-in.

• Formalize the program by giving it a name: Nascar, Ein Heldenleben, Coldplay, or just about anything else under the sun.

• Say goodbye to business as usual.

• Give people time to focus on the program. In food and beverage plants these days, they're running so lean that it's all people can do to keep their heads above water.

• Be sure to include a rewards and incentive program. • Solicit team members for ideas and keep track of those ideas. • Teach people what OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) is.

• Set goals for improvement, and don't do it willy nilly. You need goals that are attainable and you need to identify what you are willing to do to reach those goals.

For example, are you willing to have a swing shift where lines are running during breaks? “The reality is that most packaged goods companies aren't utilizing their capital assets as productively as they should. They use more operators than they should. They pay more overtime than they should. A proper continuous improvement program addresses these shortcomings. It will return millions of dollars of added profit per plant. Make no mistake, it requires a significant investment once you factor in personnel, training, software, and management attention. But it's probably the best investment you can make in terms of dollars returned to the company.”

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