Gourmet Garden is an organic food manufacturer that produces tubes of fresh herbs and spices. Based in Queensland, Australia, they have been in business since 1999. With the plan of the business they were successfully acquired by McCormick & Co. Inc in 2016 for $114 million.
This project illustrates that the most effective solutions are those that can be implemented without management and serve as the great leverage to sustainable success.
High defect rate
Defect rates were too high to be able to grow sustainably and profitably. To highlight a specific area, the process for transferring the raw materials into the tubes produced a defect rate of 3.7%, or about 2,500 tubes a day.
Their facility was not able to expand production due to manufacturing foot print and inability to keep up with demand, leading them to consider building a dedicated filling facility in USA.
Our team started by examine key processes. Part of the work flow involved using a large machine to lift drums of raw materials into a giant mixing vat (see photos below). This process added large amounts of time, energy and air bubbles. Once we had given the workers the authority to start questioning the old methods of operating, they quickly realized that the reason they used that machine was simply, “because it was there.”
Tapping into the worker’s expertise, we helped them devise a simpler solution. Rather than dump the material into a big vat which is then pumped into the bottling machine, they attached a small pump and tube directly to the drum so that the material did not have to be lifted then churned.
This dramatically reduced the number of defects and changeover time. Now they could produce smaller batches of several different products quickly, without losing time spent cleaning and resetting the systems.
What started as concerns over machines that produced defective products had evolved into a discussion of how machines were loaded and used. Gourmet Garden was able to develop their own solutions. This had massive impact by not having to open new facilities in the United States as well having to ship container goods over to the United States.
This simple mechanical process change reduced the defect level from 3.7% down to 0.15%, saving over $97,000 a day!
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Their team was professional, fun and incredibly inventive. They really helped us realize that every challenge is an opportunity.
CEO, Gourmet Garden Herbs and Spices