Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana
ASMC Member Providing Hands-On Help through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana
BASF Corporation, located in Shreveport, Louisiana, is one of two BASF facilities in Louisiana and one of 40 in the U.S. The international, publicly-owned company manufactures pharmaceutical products. There are 300 employees at the Shreveport facility, which was purchased by BASF in 1997.
Production volume at BASF was increasing due to customer demand. One particular customer was requesting more product than BASF had the capacity to produce at the time. There was a significant bottleneck in the Printing Department, where the name of the medication is printed on the tablets. Since the company manufactures pharmaceutical products, it required a changeover between batches due to FDA regulations on discreet batching. This resulted in a loss in production time. The company wanted to reduce its set-up time in the printing department in order to increase throughput and eliminate overtime. They were also looking to make the department more efficient by implementing a 5S system. In its continuing pursuit to improve its operations, BASF asked the Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana (MEPoL), a NIST MEP network affiliate, to assist them in using the principles of lean manufacturing.
The focus of the lean manufacturing project involved a two-day quick changeover/set-up reduction training/project event in the printing area, as well as training and implementation of the 5S System. BASF videotaped the printing changeover process on a normal day prior to the training/project event. MEPoL provided suggested guidelines for documenting/video taping the changeover process. BASF sent a copy to MEPoL prior to the event to assist in preparations. During training, MEPoL’s Director of Manufacturing Productivity, Shannon Nunez, conducted a brief overview of lean manufacturing and explained quick changeover. Day one of the training consisted of two rounds. In Round 1, the group developed a current and future state of the process, reviewed the videotape, identified changeover improvement priorities, established baseline times and goals for time reduction, and discussed the Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) System, including related 5S and visual control concepts. In Round 2 of the training, the group worked to apply the SMED System. They analyzed the changeover process (i.e. internal and external activities), worked to reduce changeover, and established an implementation schedule. On day two of the training, the group implemented final improvements in a pilot run and monitored the changeover process with the new modifications. They discussed what went well and what could be modified to further improve the process. They discussed standardizing the improvements and documented any final action items. Management then reviewed the changes that were made, the time reduction saved, and other positive impacts. In a separate training event held the following month, the BASF printing department was trained on and implemented the 5S System, which included accelerating product flow by achieving and sustaining clean, safe and organized workplaces. The printing department employees worked together to (1) Sort through all items and remove unneeded items; (2) Set in order remaining items, set limits and create temporary location indicators; (3) Shine or clean everything and use cleaning as inspection; (4) Standardize the first three S’s by implementing visual displays and controls; and (5) Sustain the gains through self-discipline, training, communication and total employee involvement.
- Reduced changeover/set-up reduction time by 86 percent, from 2 hours to 17 minutes.
- Increased throughput by 57 percent.
- Met customers’ needs more efficiently.
“I am happy to say this workshop has been and will continue to be a success as it moves to different departments. The concepts and practices covered in this workshop have helped manufacturers around the world improve their global competitiveness and have already helped BASF’s printing area make measurable improvements. The most successful, most profitable firms are those seeking to improve.”
Thomas Herron, Manufacturing Scheduling Supervisor