Heritage, innovation, risk, solid leadership, teamwork, employee development, communication, motivation to be the best that they can be for their customers, for their suppliers, for their workforce, and for the public – these are characteristics that make up a company driven to succeed...
...a company that works diligently at crafting out a niche market and then systematically involving it's people to drive excess waste out of every area of the organization in order to remain a competitive and viable organization producing product not only for Canada but tapping into export opportunities around the world…
Manufacturers and Community Partners from across Ontario attended a very special EMC Food Sector Networking Event with the Chudleigh's Limited Team of Milton last week. It was truly an opportunity for everyone to garner some "golden apples" so to speak with a focus on lean implementation in a food processing facility and proffering some introspect on the challenges in a baking environment.
Chudleigh's Limited History:
Chudleigh's Limited is a fully integrated operation from the growing of apples straight through to the delivery of their baked products.
Chudleigh's started as a hobby farm with Tom Chudleigh planting "compact" Apple trees from England. A gentleman of vision, he recognized an opportunity to create an "experience" for his customers by engaging the public in the picking of their own apples from his orchard.
In 1973, Carol Chudleigh made the first Chudleigh's apple pie - distinctive because of the big slices of apples in it with the premise being that it was made in an environment and in a manner to taste just like Mom's.
A fire in 1991 led the Chudleigh's to a fork in the road and recognizing the potential to grow the demand for their pies, two sons (and current owners), Dean & Scott Chudleigh elected to market them very successfully across Ontario. Over the next few years and as the customer base and demand for product increased, it facilitated a move into a brand new 82,000 sq ft facility with custom manufacturing equipment. The plant was designed such to also enable them to bring their warehouse and distribution capabilities in-house as well.
Ever in contemplation of new and innovative endeavours, the Chudleigh's elected to see how they might increase their apple yields. Currently, they consume almost 65% of Ontario Northern Spy production. Seeking an opportunity to improve their supply chain and production capabilities, they purchased 100 acres and planted apple trees with a desire to see if they can maximize a yield of 100 million lbs of apples from this particular acreage. It will take 2-3 years before those trees are mature enough to produce the apples required.
As new products developed, the Apple Blossom became a favourite - representing a rather unique approach to offer a single serving of that home-made Mother's pie in a one-piece format making it easier for restaurants and customers not able to consume a whole pie in one sitting.
The company has over 100 SKU's and fall into the frozen desserts category. The Bakeries products range from Molten-lava cakes to Panna Cotta. Chocolate Pocket cookies are now one of their number one selling deserts. They have a strong R&D focus on natural fruit taste. Their product success has been built on some simple and powerful fundamentals:
* No artificial ingredients or preservatives
* Only natural ingredients and fresh apples
* Scratch baking
* Fresh frozen and baked then frozen formats
* Comprehensive packaging flexibility: bagging, wrapping, and boxing
Stretching from Milton, Chudleigh's Limited now deals with retail and foodservice operations throughout North America, Australia and the UK. Although the majority of their products are Private-label, they do develop some Chudleigh's branded products as well. Successful business has led to another 28,000 sq ft expansion of their facilities, which will begin in short order.
Currently there are 92 full-time employees at Chudleigh's and the total number of employees can increase to include 100 temporary team members at its peak. They run two shifts and have established an extremely successful relationship with their local employment Agencies, the temporary and salary employees and management that enables them to function in true teamwork fashion to reach their goals. This is also certainly indicative of their service level which has been at 99% for the past four years and a plant efficiency that has remained at 100% for the past four years as well.
Bill Petch from Value Stream Solutions provided a background on Lean and the basic principles, outlining the deadly wastes - which is the core concept of lean - and the importance of management involvement to sustain the changes. The following are some specific areas to look at eliminating "muda" from our processes:
Defects - Plant, rework loops, customer returns and complaints, cost overruns for raw materials or labour, 100% inspection (in plant or at the customer)...
Overproduction - Often called the "mother of all muda" since it can cause or increase the incidence of the other six wastes. Look for excess inventory, large batch size, inability to meet customer demand, long or complex setups, low awareness of takt time (customer demand rate), poor quality, inflexibility, disjointed operations within a process...
Transportation - Fork lifts, carts, consumption of envelopes, boxes, shipping labels, long lead times, aisles, conveyors...
Waiting - Bins, queuing areas, waiting areas, in/out boxes, large batch sizes, long lead times, pallets, boxes, envelopes, stuff in the aisles...
Inventory - Look for reasons that people would build inventory as a quick fix to a problem: parts shortages, defects, long lead times, labour standards, idle time, lack of clear build signal...
Motion - Safety issues like repetitive strain injuries, falls, long or inconsistent cycle times, misplaced tools, cranes, lifts and other material handling equipment...
Overprocessing - Conformance issues with tolerances, fit, finish. Long cycle times, worker performance issues, scrap rates, standard material specifications...
Chudleigh's also identified an eighth deadly waste:
Chudleigh's Lean Journey:
Rob Gonsalves, VP Operations, provided an excellent overview of Chudleigh's and together with his Team, outlined their Lean Journey to date.
Rob showed a video with lions and a gazelle (who accidentally runs into a tree) and he pointed out that the Gazelles are the customers - and as suppliers - we have to be faster, quicker and smarter - lean falls perfectly in line with this as it all about continuously improving. (You can view the video on You Tube as "Gazelle Runs Into A Tree" or try pasting the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JIwY_WZZM4). Rob mentioned that Gary Hamel once wrote that 'lean will always put you on a path to be first'.
"We must cultivate leadership which supports and drives enterprise behaviors. We must develop towering professional competence in all employees through daily training, mentoring, and coaching. And we must value our employees as long-term assets whom we engage in the continuous improvement of our company." - Gary Hamel
As the Team outlined their initial foray into lean, one of the most important things that they felt needed to be in place was that of finding data to benchmark and establishing baseline standards. They started with 5-S, developed CI teams, worked on Kaizen's and Kaizini's and incorporated lean into their Annual Strategic Plans.
The following are some of the great practices and suggestions that came from the Team presentations:
* Energy Huddle - "Win and Learn" Sessions every Wednesday morning with Team Members at 10:46 am for 14 minutes
* "What If" Events - merged entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and employee engagement through accountability - employees have to participate in three events per year - the best cost savings event renders an award (gold, silver or bronze prize) at the end of the year
* Believe in the importance of networking and taking principles and moulding them to fit their environment - "Chudleigh-izing" - sustaining changes is 100 times more likely when they are your own - gaining perspective beyond your sector provides experiences that allows you to look for improvements not commonplace
* They have developed relationships with the Agencies and seek team members with a breadth of experience including backgrounds in the steel and auto sectors - train their people to be high performers - utilize visual aids - right people, right training, right place - backed up
* Being successful in any journey requires measurable matrics and obtaining those matrics helps give definition and understanding to every aspect of the organization - utilized time and motion studies to look at trying to breakthrough bottlenecks and throughputs, past practices, etc.
* Use of Visual stimuli - implemented processing, packaging, and other area specific line performance boards that are updated hourly - these boards drive all of the groups and lines and gives them an instant perspective on where production stands - are we winning? Is there a sense of urgency? They have also recently implemented an Andon system and LED board(s) as a further display of their commitment to the Visual Workplace
* Teambuilding through tangible goals and expectations - buy in from the floor for the production of quality product in a safe environment
* Don't be stale in what you are doing
* F.L.I.P. - Foundational Living Improvement Program - people are motivated and engaged and this engagement drives innovation and delivers results - "continuous improvement lives right here" - 3M, as an example, provides two hours to tinker to employees so that they can drive innovation - Chudleigh's received 42 replies (their goal was 30 ideas in 30 days) - they colour coded the replies: green is a go; yellow needs cost justification; red cannot work - but there is the justification as to why something will not work and a suggestion that perhaps there is another way to look at or solve the problem
* Don't saturate good ideas - evolve them into something else - focus on safety, quality, cost or service - get the benefit and pull out - move from monthly to quarterly or seasonal events - employees are encouraged to change
* Importance of making CI part of everyone's roles - in the first year they tackled 76 different projects with a significant impact on the business - training is important so that people understand the tools of lean and the objectives of each (ie. 5-S, Kaizens) - identified nine areas in the plant and completed weekly audits - from those audits, action plans were created and all of this was managed from the top down through quarterly audits
* Conestoga Apprenticeship Program has been very useful for them
* "The Goal" by Eli Goldrat was recommended as a good read
* Developed a position called the "Waste Chaser" - the Waste Chaser collects data and in conjunction with a scrap and waste team looks at where it is coming from - what it is costing - and how they can reduce it - they educate the workforce and attempt to make it personal - a compliance officer wears a bright yellow vest - which makes them easily visible and accessible - this officer can provide information, do follow-up and look for root cause analysis - at the beginning, they had too many people involved but it did provide complete plant awareness and some motivation - not everyone is as passionate about the cause - but you develop it to suit the company requirements - this Officer acts essentially as an Escalation Agent and intervenes to stop waste immediately - after two years the company recognized annualized savings of $200,000/year - the equivalent of 4/5 full time jobs - building awareness was key and now waste is on the top of everyone's mind
* Work Measurement - utilization of the MOST Technique (Maynard Operation Sequence Technique) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maynard_Operation_Sequence_Technique - which uses predetermined motion times ie. an average person working at an average speed. This system allowed them to create a smooth flow in their production process by developing a pull system at the back of the line. Time studies on people and on machines ensure equal work and in the process can reveal what to concentrate improvements on
* The importance of Certification to ensure correct measurements and compliance and accreditation
Take a few minutes to review the attached presentation - there is a comprehensive time-line of lean implementation activities to give you a good feel for the depth and breadth of the Chudleigh's lean journey to date, there is an example of the Processing Line Board that was mentioned above that gives an overview of where the plant is functioning at any given time including from a waste perspective, some of the types of lean tools are mentioned, an overview of one of their Kaizen blitzes, an Energy Huddle example Agenda, job description for the Waste Chaser, Shadow Boards for those looking for 5-S initiatives, QA Boards to ensure proper procedures are followed, an overview of work measurement and sample Standard Work Instruction to benchmark to, and finally, a summary of their best practices but best of all, their own "Lean Learning Nuggets" that you can take and "Chudleigh-ize" for your own facility.
As the Overview indicates "Take advantage of absolutely every opportunity to LEARN, ADOPT and CUSTOMIZE".
Our sincerest thanks to Rob Gonsalves and the Chudleigh's Limited Team below for the excellent, excellent presentations and for the awesome plant tour!
Ken Busby (Production Leader)
Irene Lawrence (CI Technician)
Kristina Prihova (Process Engineer)
Omar Pacheco (Production Leader)
Jay Charron (Production Leader)
Carol-Anne Ferrari (Production Scheduling Manager)
Phillip Gleeson (Packaging Lead/ Process Engineer Trainee)
Our Members, Community Partners and all of us participating from EMC Canada thoroughly enjoyed your hospitality and your willingness to share and answer questions - it was definitely an "apple blossom" of a day!
For more information on Chudleigh's Limited, please feel free to check out their website at www.chudleighs.com touch base with Rob Gonsalves, VP Operations (Rob.Gonsalves@chudleighs.com).
Have a wonderful day!!