As one of the biggest names in the drinks sector, Diageo’s manufacturing network reaches across the globe. Four years ago, the company’s packing plant in Runcorn, Cheshire undertook an asset management audit with mixed results. Tim Brown discovers that the journey to world class manufacturing status was more closely linked to the management of systems and human assets than machines.
Diageo ’s Runcorn site comprises two divisions, a traditional smallpack (bottling & canning) and a keg plant. The primary product catered for at the site is the world famous Guinness stout, but the plant is also responsible for producing several lager brands. In 2006, the Runcorn plant enlisted the assistance of lean and training experts MCP Consulting and Training and deployed their Asset Management Improvement System (AMIS).
The application of AMIS, according to MCP managing director Richard Jones, aimed to systematically change the culture and engagement of those involved in the operation and maintenance of the plant’s packaging equipment. “Before the introduction of this strategy, the plant was highly reactive and the plant maintenance was operated primarily on a fixed time system,” says Jones.
“When [maintenance] issues occurred, they paid for expensive overhauls of the equipment by the supplier and the production team didn’t own any of the asset care. This was also true of the shift engineers who were there to be reactive.
At the time, downtime was high and their overall equipment effectives was variable.” The AMIS system is effectively an auditing system, says Diageo keg plant engineer Ralph Hearn. “The use of AMIS allowed us to gain an understanding of where our asset management ranked compared to other world class manufacturers in the brewing and drinks sector. The feedback: we were not as far advanced as we thought, but it was a quick learning curve and improvement strategy to get to the status of world class.”
Proper asset care must involve the correct integration of maintenance and operation, says MCP’s Jones. He says rather than operating in a reactive environment and fire fighting, incorporating predictive and preventative maintenance schedules is essential. Such a schedule should be developed in partnership with the OEM and must incorporate operator checks and maintenance routines to achieve the right reliability and performance targets.
The delegation of more specific maintenance responsibilities to both operators and engineers is designed to encourage greater engagement of staff with their tasks which improves morale, communication and uninterrupted operation.
Ensuring that planned predictive maintenance aligns with other jobs such as operator checks, hygiene checks and overall production is vital.
To improve the asset care management at any plant, Jones says the first step is to propose a maintenance plan. Once the feasibility of the plan has been assessed to ensure adequate resources are available, the different teams can get together with the production manager to develop a schedule.
The production manager must take responsibility for the maintenance schedule to ensure there are no conflicts.
Efficiency in fours
At the Runcorn plant, a key part of the maintenance plan was to divide the plant in to quadrants.
“Instead of the old approach where all the engineers in the workshop go out wherever there is a problem,” says Jones, “by allocating certain areas of responsibility, the engineers were able to start to focus on zone ownership. At the Diageo plant, the operators tended to be in quadrants already but the engineers were roaming.” Diageo’s Hearn says in the smallpack division where the quadrants were applied, downtime is now a lot lower and changeovers are much quicker. “They have changed the areas of responsibility,” he explains.
“This allocation has made response times much quicker and the technicians are now driving their own improvements because they have better ownership of the area.” A total of six engineers are used for each shift in the smallpack operation. With only four quadrants, the two remaining engineers are now utilised to work on continuous improvement projects. “One of the big improvements which has come in to play is a waste reduction programme which has reduced waste from around 1.5% to 0.9% and we are looking at reducing that again,” Hearn says. “We have a target to aim for, and we have set up, a waste CI group. Because they know the lines, they know where the areas of waste are occurring. Those are the sorts of initiatives that AMIS drives.” Before the AMIS programme, Diageo used to engage in a fairly high number of contracts each year with the equipment suppliers who would come in and complete overhauls on the machine. “Before AMIS, the OEM would come in with three or four people – now only one guy comes in for the big overhauls and the work is all done internally with the OEM representative there to coordinate,” says Jones.
“With improved ownership of the maintenance they have been able to take over the bulk of the specialist work from the supplier. Runcorn is now considered a reference site by the OEM for the design and implementation of new plants. The OEM has lost some work in terms of contract overhauls but it still considers Runcorn as its reference site because it is performing better than others.” A computer has now been installed in each of the four quadrants, making access to the companies’ SAP system far easier. Changes to the IT system have also made it much simpler for operators to raise jobs and close them. Similarly, booking a spare part is much easier. The AMIS system links the job, the request and the planned work with a spare and the closing of the job. This makes it easier for the workers to complete maintenance work. Hearn says this has simplified the entry of necessary information into the system.
“Previously each individual person was required to log in to book their individual parts out. There is now a generic log-in for the stores for anyone in the engineering team so it is quicker and easier to enter the data. We have also developed a new SAP frontend, a development that is ongoing which ensures we fill in the correct fields, and has eliminated the superfluous fields. The front-end now only displays the necessary fields.”
A successful result
The benefits that have been delivered include: improved plant performance, higher and more stable OEE, reduced cost, improved quality and reduced waste. Local teams are regularly involved with problem solving using various continuous improvement techniques such as root cause analysis. The Runcorn site recently won three Diageo global awards: the Maximising Diageo, Value World Class Asset Care and Overall Perfect Plant of the Year.
The AMIS programme has delivered very big operations and maintenance improvements at Diageo Runcorn, and both visitors and suppliers alike have been extremely impressed and can see what World Class performance is about. “Too often we think of ‘technical techniques’ in terms of the reliability of the system,” says MCP’s Jones. “The overriding message for me is that improvements come from an engagement process of people and a culture change.”