case study

Gemba is integral part of £0.5m per annum savings

Westland Garden Health is the UK’s largest manufacturer of bird food, with a specialist seed blending facility, based in Driffield, East Yorkshire. They have a 75,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility where over 6000 tonnes of Westland Garden Health’s 600-plus products are produced each month over 4 high capacity production lines

As a forward-thinking company, Westland Garden Health was already more than aware of the need to measure and improve production processes, in line with a mission statement that commits them to exceeding customer expectation. CI (Continuous Improvement) activity was already being carried out, but Westland Garden Health saw further opportunity for improvement.

"OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) is the only true way to accurately measure line performance and lost opportunity" comments James Farnsworth, Westland Garden Health’s Factory Manager. 

"Prior to our involvement with Gemba, we had been manually collecting production data and inputting in to Excel, which seriously limited the accuracy of the data."
James Farnsworth, Factory Manager

The start

Westland Garden Health’s drivers for measuring efficiency are to reduce downtime, improve cost £/tonne and to provide accurate data for forecasting line output. In order to improve the accuracy of their data, they selected Gemba’s OEE software and related services. "We chose Gemba because you can trust them," said James. "The product really delivers, the support is good and so is the price."

The Data

Staff at Westland Garden Health immediately began to incorporate the data from the Gemba system in to their CI activities. Data is now used for hourly reviews, daily performance reviews, and weekly and monthly CI meetings.

Visibility is achieved using large overhead monitors in the production area, giving all staff visibility of relevant data in real-time. "Staff have really embraced the OEE measure," commented James. "Many of the CI projects we’ve carried out have resulted in improvements to their working day, which has really helped to engage the team."

Westland Garden Health has used the Gemba system data to complete many CI projects, 

  • An analysis of SKU’s to determine least profitable parts to target improvements
  • An update of target cycle times based on accurate data
  • Significant improvements in changeover times
  • 10% reduction in unscheduled downtime across the plant

The Benefits

Westland Garden Health’s disciplined and customer-focused approach to continuously improving their business has helped give them a strong competitive edge in their market and has been a vital contributor to their success. Westland Garden Health feels that Gemba’s solution is a key factor in the success of their CI program, which has resulted in huge benefits to the business.

"Our continuous improvement and capex projects have so far saved us more than £0.5 million per annum, and Gemba has been an integral part of that" said James.

Since work began, unscheduled downtime and changeover times are improved, and Westland Garden Health’s overall line efficiencies have increased by over 20%.

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