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Managing Labor Costs with Worximity’s Production Monitoring Solution
5 Jun

Managing Labor Costs with Worximity’s Production Monitoring Solution

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Central Bernard
Danny Sedra, VP of Operations
Food & Beverages Processing

The Client

Walk through the meat and poultry section of your favorite supermarket and chances are that prepackaged chicken is brought to you courtesy of Montreal’s Central Bernard. What began as a small neighborhood butcher shop in the early 1960s has grown into a 50,000 sq. ft. poultry processing, packaging, and distribution plant powered by a staff of 150.

And through it all, this family-owned business has stayed true to its core values:

·  Treat employees with respect and provide the opportunity for growth.

·  Provide an exceptional customer experience.

·  Exceed expectations on product quality, food safety, and service.

Guided by these principles, the company is managed by the second and third generation of its founders. Today, Central Bernard is recognized as a leading poultry meat provider to many of Canada’s popular food retailers. Success is no accident. Consistent with its tremendous growth and impressive customer base, the company recognizes the need to improve continuously.

The Challenge

Labor is the single biggest cost for most manufacturers. As the cost-of-living trends upward, wages rise, and companies invest heavily to attract, retain, and incentivize their workforce.  At the same time, these companies must be conscious of the marketplace and take steps to remain as lean and competitive as possible.

“Our packaging operation is very labor-intensive,” said VP of Operations, Danny Sedra. “People are putting processed chicken in trays and feeding them down the line to be packaged, weighed, boxed, and so on. We needed complete visibility and a quantifiable way to measure capacity and efficiency. Improvement begins by understanding where you are and what’s possible. We wanted to establish a benchmark relative to how fast we were going on any given day and with respect for any given item.”

Worximity helps labor-reliant companies such as ours to correlate staffing requirements with product runs and production targets. We’ve been able to reduce costs by increasing throughput without adding labor. Now we can plan more accurately by asking: Do we have too many people scheduled, or do we need to bring in more?

Danny Sedra
VP of Operations
Central Bernard

The Solution

Central Bernard was introduced to Worximity’s real-time production monitoring software in 2013.  Sedra explained that a preliminary study was performed to determine if the benefits and insights of the system would add significant value.

Encouraged by the results, the software was installed across four tray pack lines in 2014. Implementation included monitors on the plant floor displaying production data in real time.

“It wasn’t enough to have that data on a tablet or desktop, our front-line people had to have access on the floor,” said Sedra. “This provided an expectation, grounded in metrics, of how they could perform day-in and day-out. Additionally, this information helps management with production and labor planning.”

According to Sedra, providing live data-driven feedback to front-line workers keeps them in touch with performance, and motivates them to do better. Beyond that, it created a friendly competitive environment.

64% Decrease in average length of downtime

The Results

Controlling Labor Costs

We can’t afford to lose control of costs,” explained Sedra. “This is exactly what Worximity affords us. Monitoring production in real time allows us to make timely decisions on factual information. The consequences of not meeting orders or cutting orders because we’re running out of time are significant. I’m talking about losses across the board, not only in costs associated with dollar value but the unquantifiable cost to relationships with our customers, our reputation, and missed opportunities.”

Worximity production and OEE monitoring software eliminates the guesswork by putting actual production metrics at your fingertips. This allows manufacturers to adopt a continuous improvement mindset and confidently set, monitor and reach targets without adding unnecessary headcount or equipment.

“Worximity helps labor-reliant companies such as ours to correlate staffing requirements with product runs and production targets. We’ve been able to reduce costs by increasing throughput without adding labor. Now we can plan more accurately by asking: Do we have too many people scheduled, or do we need to bring in more?”

Quantifying Downtime

While management uses Worximity for planning, benchmarking, and improvement initiatives, the software is also used by production floor staff who are responsible for measuring the performance of equipment and line workers. Similarly, production supervisors rely on the system to pinpoint where they stand at any given moment against daily targets. They can correlate the number of workers on a given line to production expectations. Because the data is displayed in real-time, management knows immediately if a line is hitting the target or not allowing corrective action to be taken immediately.

Key to this is capturing unscheduled downtime associated with equipment and production lines. Every minute that the line isn’t moving is lost revenue so all involved, from senior management to line operators must identify the cause(s) of stoppages.

Just-in-time operations like Central Bernard stock minimal inventory. The product arrives by truckload in the morning and leaves the same way at the end of the day.  Because of this heavy reliance on suppliers, stoppages can be traced to any number of factors, some beyond the control of those on the plant floor. Despite this, all downtime must be tracked to understand where the issues lie and if anything can be done to mitigate the impact.

“We may be offline waiting for a truck to arrive while other times downtime can be traced to a piece of equipment, an individual, or an entire line. We ask operators to justify stoppages, and they fully understand why.”

Getting buy-in from the shop floor to monitor production depends largely on how it is presented so employees don’t feel targeted. Sedra says it’s important to explain the impact of tracking production and downtime on the entire organization – it’s a team effort.

“Downtime happens and is driven by many factors. We explain that the data from Worximity’s software allows us to plan better, make needed adjustments, and avoid lost production time. The bottom line is that it helps us individually and collectively to do our jobs better.”

And when a need arises to address performance issues, management now has the necessary information to do so effectively. Production data helps to quantify job performance while removing any bias or subjectivity.

“It’s all about being respectful by offering productive feedback that is useful and backed by hard facts. We’ve been using Worximity for 10 years, it’s part of our daily workflow. Trying to enhance production without concrete data can be difficult,” said Sedra. “It’s easy for a worker to dismiss a supervisor’s input as unreasonable, unfounded, or over the top. On the other hand, presenting a concern with tangible metrics supports the push for better performance.”

A complete understanding of production performance allows Central Bernard to improve operations, manage its labor pool, and make specific and meaningful improvements.

“Leveraging insights from Worximity fully allows us to measure and improve specific production areas, maximize throughput, and achieve sustained bottom-line results.

Could we survive without Worximity? Sure, but why and at what cost?  Going without would create more work because we’d need to track things manually. And the data wouldn’t be timely. At the end of the day, you ask: How did we do today? If we missed our targets, why? Without Worximity it’s too late to correct the problem.”

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