Until now there has been little feasible improvement opportunities for these age-old quality management challenges. Together with Nukon, the wine company identified opportunities to improve through digitising its quality process.
Industry
Manufacturing: Food & Beverage
Outcome

System ensures quality adherence and data accuracy.

Capability

Industry 4.0 digitisation, paperless quality management, quality process improvement.

Region

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Kim Fiddaman, Senior Consultant, Nukon

“We’ve been able to significantly increase adherence to the quality control plan by digitising key paper-based processes.”

Background

About this case study

Due to the highly competitive nature of packaging and manufacturing and the use of industry 4.0 levers to enhance operations, we respect the client’s wishes to remain anonymous.

We refer to the client as an ‘international wine company’ throughout this case study. We thank them for their support in developing this example of our work.

About the client

The wine company has more than 70 wine brands and an international portfolio. 

The company’s Australian Wine Packaging Centre bottles, labels and packages more than 300 wine products. Among other operational goals, quality remains critical to the company’s success, and as such, it embarked on a digitisation project in a bid to improve its quality process. 

The client's challenge

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies have always been focused on product quality, product safety and ‘right first time’ performance metrics. Such standards are central to avoiding product rework and/or recalls and the enormous negative impact they cause to company reputation and profitability.

In recent years the industry has also undergone increasing pressure to deliver full product traceability and transparency of quality data. The ability to collect and store accurate quality data is becoming increasingly important as the industry responds to this market change and looks to implement data-backed improvement programs.

Like many FMCG customers, our client’s packaging centre had a paper-based quality system which opened the business up to many challenges.

These challenges include disparate paper-based information silos, a lack of data traceability, and risk of lengthy response times in the event of a product recall or audit. In addition, the paper-based quality control process relied on the operator’s handwritten notes, and their 100% compliance to the Standard Operating Procedure.

It was obvious that improvements could be made to ensure the business was able to respond to market demand for transparency, and improve its right first time performance benchmark for business profitability.

Solution

The answer lay in digitising the quality system...

Until now there has been little feasible improvement opportunities for these age-old quality management challenges. Together with Nukon, the wine company identified opportunities to improve through digitising its quality process.

A ‘paperless quality system’ would:

  • improve ‘right first time’ metric
  • reduce time spent on product rework
  • increase data accessibility
  • bring traceability to quality data
  • increase process control plan adherence
  • improve recall or audit response times.

Nukon performed a detailed gap and requirements analysis and found the best way to achieve these improvements was a paperless quality solution.

Solution detail: how it works

The paperless quality solution is powered by an automated workflow. The workflow ‘orchestrates’ the entire quality process from generating work orders, materials specifications to quality process and final storage of data.

System features:

  •  user prescribed tasks 
  •  barcoded raw materials 
  • paperless quality checks via mobile device
  • workflow dashboard and reporting tool.

From old to new: Improvements in data, time and quality 

Function Old Process New paperless quality process
Data quality

The level of manual work to execute the current quality management process is error-prone and susceptible to poor process adherence.

Data captured is low quality because data formats and limits cannot be enforced, paper is prone to damage, and handwriting can be unclear. Quality check sheets are printed from an Excel template and distributed to operators. Line operators decipher work orders and execute the PCP in accordance with their training.

The paperless system removes error and speeds up the quality management process.

The work order number, shift, and product specifications are integrated into the paperless automated workflow. The workflow prescribes and delegates user tasks triggered by control system events like start of work order, shift change, or periodically throughout a shift. Operators receive and complete tasks via their mobile device, minimising process variation and increasing data quality and data entry speed.

Master data management

Version control of Excel file-based check sheets requires user discipline in file naming, file storage locations, folder naming, and files being duplicated to desktop computers from file server locations. This can easily get out of control and is a common source of wasted time in managing files and identifying the right files to use.

Managing quality sample tolerance master data for each product is obscured in Excel files rather than being in a single central location, meaning managing this master data is time consuming, cumbersome, and prone to error.

Master data for quality checks and check items is managed in a central database. Version control is used with full traceability of who changed what and when, and automatically increments data version numbers.
Workflow adherence Data entry into Excel files requires detailed user training and a reliance on operators following standard operating procedure. This can introduce variance in how the process is followed, when quality samples are taken, and how non-conformances are escalated. This means that adherence to the preventative control plan is lower than it could be which increases the chance of non-conforming product being produced, consequent rework, or even potential release to consumers. The automated workflow prescribes what checks are required and when. The standard operating procedure is effectively prescribed to the user, preventing deviation from the process. Adherence to the PCP is significantly higher.
Data reporting

Data captured into separate Excel files for each production run means data cannot be searched across multiple work orders easily in the case of a product audit or product recall.

An example of this is if a faulty batch of raw materials is used in multiple work orders. Finding all product where a specific batch of raw materials was consumed requires opening and searching through many individual Excel files which can be very time consuming, and is not a precise way of ensuring all faulty product is found.

Quality data is readily available in reports and can be filtered by work order number, SKU, or date. Full data history over as many years as required can be retrieved immediately
Process improvement Data captured into separate Excel files for each production run also means data cannot be trended over longer periods of time and used for statistical process control charts (SPC) or histogram charts. This restricts the ability to use data captured for continuous process improvement initiatives. All quality data can be charted in Nukon’s analytic toolset on control charts and histograms to understand if critical control points are heading out of control and how sampled data is distributed about the mean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outcome

The wine company’s packaging centre has fully adopted the paperless quality system at its facility.

It enjoys the benefits of:

  • reduced risk of product rework via improved ‘right first time’ metric
  • improved recall response times - quality data is now accessible via user-friendly dashboard
  • increased data input speed and accuracy via user prescribed tasks, barcode scanning functions
  • mobility and time efficiency gains via mobile devices
  • clear direction on improvement opportunities via statistical process control (six sigma), now enabled
  • increased adherence to standard operating procedure - fixed automated workflow and prescribed tasks gets the same execution, every time.

The company plans to expand the solution across its Australian and international facilities.

Project delivery

In line with Nukon’s consultative approach, this project was delivered with heavy stakeholder involvement and regular touch points. First, Nukon performed a detailed gap and requirements analysis, and found the best way to enhance the company’s quality management system was with Nukon’s workflow automation solution.

Once the recommended solution was agreed, Nukon developed and implemented the solution using an agile project delivery methodology. The project was broken down into fortnightly ‘sprints’, that provided stakeholders with the opportunity to review, resolve and/or add to the requirements as needed.

Data Management And Reporting

Automated workflow solutions

Nukon delivers powerful workflow solutions that can orchestrate machines, systems, and people in a production environment. Workflow solutions can enforce adherence to production processes, prescribe tasks to the right users at the right time, reduce time spent monitoring assets and allow operators to focus on continuous improvement activities.

Custom solution

Nukon’s solutions are fully customisable, because no one client is the same. Starting from a basic model and a workflow template, you’ll be able to add your own data in a structure that suits you, and create or enhance workflows to suit your individual processes.

 

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