case studies

Private Equity Owned FMCG business

This $100m per annum revenue business with 700 staff was annually losing $10 million and ‘bleeding’ cash with the bank threatened to dishonour a cash call.

Farthing West undertook directive action to rapidly bring a greater degree of stability to Plant Operations and Quality. This includes reinstituting product standards and standard operating procedures; reinstituting and enhancing where appropriate on-floor quality procedures; and ensuring short and medium term strategies for maintenance were incorporated in the production schedule.

Working with management and staff, Farthing West led team-based activity to rapidly gain process control and improve the performance of the plant. This include reducing the total amount of product going to waste and improving the quality aspects of finished goods; bringing actual pack weights closer to specification.

Farthing West introduced Heijunka (“Lean” Planning Tool) activity to bring stability to Plant Operations. This includes providing a daily production plan for the business to deliver product to the Finished Goods warehouse; assisting in balancing labour utilisation and smoothing the materials flow through the factory; and improving the availability of product in the Finished Goods Warehouse to meet customer demand.

Not least, we developed audit processes and tools which supervisors used to monitor work activity and lock in improvements.

Highlights after six weeks involvement included: on one major line manning was reduced from 151 to 76 with 15% improvement in productivity; on another major line there was a 25% increase in revenue representing a threefold improvement in productivity.  Wastage across the factory was halved.  A new team leader structure was put in place.

There was remarkable improvement in quality of all products.  Profitability was restored.  The bank honoured the cash call and the client subsequently sold the business as a profitable going-concern.

Rio Tinto – Kestrel Mine

Farthing West lifted development productivity at Kestrel, one of Australia’s top producing coal mines, by more than 40%.  And this in an environment of worsening mining conditions – weaker roof that required more support, greater seam cross grades of up to 1:5, weak floor, high water intakes and old equipment.

Coking coal is an essential input into the manufacture of steel and enjoys a premium price.  Rio Tinto’s Kestrel mine produced high quality coking coal.  The mine was extremely profitable.  The equipment was old.  Yet in spite of this it had been one of Australia’s top producing mines for many years.

The mine was reaching the end of its life and Rio Tinto were in the process of building a replacement mine head at KME.  Development at KME was well behind schedule and Kestrel was forced to extend the life of the mine by continuing development into what had previously been considered uneconomical mining conditions.

Against an environment of adverse mining conditions, Farthing West assisted Kestrel to lift productivity.

How did we achieve this?

Through the engagement of the workforce in redesigning the Development process to accommodate the adverse conditions.  Key features included detailed planning. practical work standards, visual tools to assist operators meet work standards, rigorous auditing processes and not least effective team work.

We are Lean consultants that know how to translate the tools and techniques into wealth for our clients.

Fast Food Industry - KFC Franchise

Farthing West has recently demonstrated how the power of Lean can significantly improve in-store performance of even the best of the major international fast food chain outlets, with staff and customers recognise the improvement.

Inexperienced staff can now be rapidly trained to deliver the best quality products and services thanks to the introduction of high quality Standard Work systems and processes and a battery of highly effective single point lessons, visual management tools and 5S.

Heijunka (levelled planning) has taken the guess work out of planning.  At the push of a button management now knows what to cook and when to cook it.  And, KANBAN Cards now make stock management child’s play.

Strong emphasis was also given to Jidoka concepts, including the extensive use of Kamishibai (Audit) Cards with the underlying goal of developing ‘worker problem solvers’.

The result – improved productivity, quality and customer services in a happier, calmer environment.