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. 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. These solutions serve as the greatest leverage for sustainable success.
Defect rates needed be reduced for sustainable growth 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 the manufacturing footprint and high demand, leading them to consider building a dedicated filling facility in USA.
Our team started by examining 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 there was a better way.
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 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 defects caused by machines evolved into a discussion of how machines were loaded and used. Gourmet Garden was able to develop their own solutions. This had a massive impact by eliminating the need to open new facilities in 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