Allied Bakeries wanted to improve its manufacturing performance and customer service levels across its 13 bakeries but since there was no reliable measurement of current performance, the company was finding it difficult to identify the hotspots on which to focus its improvement activities. It turned to RPM (real-time performance management) vendor, MVI Technology for help.
Founded in 1935 by Willard Garfield Weston, Allied Bakeries has a third share of the UK bread market. Products include morning goods, rolls and part-baked bread, with household brands such as Kingsmill, Allinson, Sunblest and Burgen. Allied is part of the Associated British Foods Group. ABF has a global turnover of 5.2 billion per annum and employs 35,000 worldwide.
The company wanted a better understanding of its productivity was, so plant managers could make informed choices about where improvements could be made.
Some of Allieds bakeries had implemented manual and PC-based systems for monitoring performance but they all operated independently of each other and, according to the groups project manager, Rod Whenray, reliability of the data they produced was at best reasonable.
The systems were home-baked (excuse the pun). We had lots of anecdotal information and half-truths on plant performance but no real plant history or analysis in some cases reported unreliability of equipment simply wasnt true.
Allied contracted MVI Technology to implement its Mainsaver and Eventsengine software solutions. The MVI system provides a visual record of what happens when breakdowns and stoppages occur; the information relevant to operators is logged by them and instantly transformed into live graphical data on the line. It allows the company to capture all reactive work from the shopfloor for analysis of repetitive faults, so it can make improvements by eliminating or reducing the faults.
Implementation of the MVI system began at the companys largest bakery (in West Bromwich) in January 2004 and is steadily rolling out across the group. Allieds approach has been to implement the system in manageable chunks. Whenray: We installed it in stores and purchasing first and now were rolling out the final module to gather data on downtime. The first part of the implementation allowed us to identify precisely where our spend was by each individual piece of equipment; who was taking parts out and who we were buying parts from.
Whenray was able to eliminate the purchase of duplicate parts from different suppliers and drive down purchase costs as well as make savings because of improvements in equipment reliability and planned maintenance. We reduced carriage costs at the West Bromwich site by 80% because we stopped having to call out taxis in the middle of the night that alone saved us 14,000 a year. And weve saved another 22,000 because were buying more effectively - we can make better price comparisons: we know what weve got in stock; we know what usage has been and we can go out for more competitive prices
The savings at the West Bromwich site was the justification Whenray needed to roll out across the group and he expects similar savings at each of the other bakeries, as well as getting the group-wide information he needs to drive business improvement:
The downtime data from the MVI system will give us better plant reliability and well be able to supply our customers better. We already have superb customer service levels, but we can improve things by fulfilling orders more efficiently - we get orders at 4.00pm for delivery the next day and obviously we dont carry any stock; if we get a breakdown in the middle of the night, thats a problem.
Whenray says the MVI system is easy to use and the usual operator resistance to new Information Technology was quickly overcome. He is pleased with the benefits the system has already delivered. To be honest, we made savings even before the system went live we identified the carriage savings wed make at the West Bromwich plant simply as a result of collecting and populating data in preparation for the implementation.