case study

Production efficiency software key to continuous improvement

Originally founded in 1883, PPG Industries has been a market-leading manufacturing company for more than a century. Its forward-thinking and innovative approach has been key to its success around the world.

As an organization with a stated corporate objective to increase employee output by at least 5% per year, a focus on quality and continuous improvement is of huge importance. PPG Architectural UK chose a Gemba GAIN4 Efficiency solution to provide them with robust productivity metrics that would underpin their CI (Continuous Improvement) program and highlight opportunities for improvement. 

"We wanted a measure that engaged operators to drive productivity in real time – something that told the operators if they had added value to the business and customer each day", explained Lee Riley, PPG EMEA's Lean Manager. "We also wanted a diagnostic tool that would highlight non-value add activity, to give us a focus for our CI projects."

"We wanted a measure that engaged operators to drive productivity in real time – something that told the operators if they had added value to the business and customer each day."
Lee Riley, EMEA’s Lean Manager

The pilot

In order to get buy-in from the production team, PPG decided to pilot the software on one area of their Birstall site. The team was quick to make use of the data the system gathered, and within 2 weeks of operation, output had doubled on the pilot line. Speedy implementation by Gemba combined with a proactive and highly motivated approach from the PPG team allowed the company to begin reaping the benefits of the system straight away, and secured them an immediate return on investment.

Based on the success of the pilot, PPG had no hesitation in rolling the system out to cover both the Birstall and Morley sites.

"Gemba’s team showed great confidence in their product and a real understanding of how to tailor it to our needs with a common sense approach"
Lee Riley, EMEA’s Lean Manager

The Data

Staff at PPG use data generated by GAIN4 every day. This clear and factual information about PPG’s processes has become the basis upon which production decisions are made, problems are identified and addressed, and improvement activities are initiated and measured. Shift leaders are required to print OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) reports and present them at the daily production meetings. Internal suppliers and maintenance staff also bring relevant reports to the meetings and discuss  and agree corrective actions. PPG cite real-time visualization of performance metrics on the shop-floor as being key to operator involvement.

"Site-wide visibility of the data gives us a full and transparent view of areas of concern, and areas for improvement" said Lee. "As a BPI Manager this makes it easy to celebrate and reward success because there is no subjectivity."


The Improvements

In addition to the day-to-day identification of production issues and corrective action, the PPG team target repeat issues as part of their continuous improvement program. Such projects have so far included reduction of QC cycle time and changeover, as well as improvements in process availability. "One issue the software highlighted was a problem with paint supply to one of our filling lines" said Lee. "We were able to address this via a CI project and the result was a £30K/annum saving in labour costs."

"Now we have Gemba’s software, we can find issues, engage operators and get their ideas on how to improve the process. Once we implement the improvements the ideas just keep on coming!"
Lee Riley, EMEA’s Lean Manager

The Future

Following rollout of the system across the Birstall and Morley sites, Lee recommended the system to PPG in the Netherlands. They have since installed the system in both their Uithoorn and Amsterdam sites. As PPG’s Lean Manager EMEA, Lee is standardizing on Gemba’s software for Western Europe. "Once we have an OEE figure for Western Europe as a whole, we will have a key lean metric that allows us to benchmark processes very easily. Focus will be on reducing batch size and length of changeover to gain inventory savings whilst maintaining delivery performance" said Lee.

PPG and Gemba have taken a collaborative approach to securing efficiency improvements, utilizing both companies’ strengths. PPG’s proactive focus on quality and continuous improvement coupled with Gemba’s market-leading technology and obsession with driving the benefit into their customers’ businesses, rather than just laying software on top of it has proved a winning combination.

"Gemba’s product is amazing and can revolutionize your plant. It has changed our culture enormously on the shop-floor and we have full visibility of ££££ opportunities."
Lee Riley, EMEA’s Lean Manager

"Gemba has been very supportive post installation and the superuser training we received was delivered really well. Gemba have people who know OEE and all the difficulties in ensuring the metric is right for you".

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