Operations & Management
West Liberty Foods saves $2M in maintenance costs with Lean manufacturing solution
Mar. 26, 2017 – The Cloud-based lean manufacturing solution provider Leading2Lean helped West Liberty Foods save $2 million in maintenance costs over the past two years with its implementation of Leading2Lean at three of its plants.
Because of that success, Leading2Lean awarded West Liberty Foods with an Operational Excellence Award for creating an operational and cultural transformation of the company’s plants.
West Liberty Foods, based in West Liberty, Iowa, said it saved $2 million in maintenance costs through greater visibility into where money is being spent on materials and employee time. The company has also reduced employee turnover by 50 per cent, achieved 89 per cent utilization of its maintenance workforce and improved operational availability in at least one of the plants to 96 per cent, an increase of nearly 10 per cent.
“Leading2Lean helps maintenance teams maintain our world-class standard,” said Chad Williams, corporate maintenance manager at West Liberty Foods. “Everyone has real-time visibility into what’s happening at our plant. If we have a problem, we can quickly get to the root cause of it. Leading2Lean has not only saved us money, but it has also improved our processes and made us more productive with the resources we have.”
Because of greater transparency and accountability with Leading2Lean, companies that implement the solution see an improvement in company culture — one of greater transparency, accountability and engagement.
“At first, some of our employees were wary of the new system,” Williams said. “But now, those employees are some of the best at analyzing their tasks and making changes that save money and improve profitability.”
Real-time access to information allows any Leading2Lean user to analyze reports that matter most to their job function and recommend changes to operations based on those reports. Before West Liberty Foods implemented Leading2Lean, the company would need to ask the IT department for the information they needed. Leading2Lean allows anyone to quickly generate and view the report they need right from a web browser. “Before, I’d have to run 10 to 15 individual reports to get the same information I can get with one report out of Leading2Lean,” Williams said.
Leading2Lean’s real-time reporting system helped West Liberty Foods measure its workforce utilization. With that improved utilization, the company can also determine the most optimal time to perform preventative maintenance, keeping production lines running at peak efficiency.
“Companies such as West Liberty Foods are seeing significant increases in production output and manufacturing efficiency by implementing Leading2Lean,” said Keith Barr, president and CEO of Leading2Lean. “Our solution enables manufacturing and production teams to align and focus on the right priorities to improve their businesses. Any business that has a production line can see immediate impact with our solution.”
Within two years of implementing Leading2Lean in its first facility, West Liberty Foods improved operational availability to 96 per cent. “The key driver to that success was the visibility we had into our manufacturing process and the ability to drill down to issues,” Williams said.
Because the company is handling high-quality perishable food items, West Liberty Foods has strict company guidelines and procedures, along with clearly defined regulations required by the USDA.
“Leading2Lean allows for easy and clear visibility into this process, which has been instrumental in ensuring the best and safest product for our customers and documenting compliance with the USDA,” Williams said.