Identifying improvement areas within a chemical packaging facility via selected iTLS methodologies
Continuous improvement is required, in order for a company to compete in the global market. Finding a balance between the organisations level of quality and throughput whilst ensuring cost-effectiveness, is a challenge. Three of the most influential methodologies associated with continuous improvement are, Theory of Constraint, Lean and Six Sigma. Each of these methodologies have been proven and have been adopted in many competitive international companies. This mini-dissertation sets out to make use of selected tools and techniques from all three of these methodologies at a selected packaging plant. The objective of the study was to identify if the facility had any inefficiencies as a result of throughput issues, waste and quality problems. The research began with a thorough literature study on the three methodologies and then used the combined methodology known as iTLS. iTLS is one of the new generation of continuous improvement models and rationally combines the three most influential continuous improvement philosophies, their techniques and tools. It harmonises, integrates and synchronises the three methods in a synergic mixture that produces substantially improved financial results. Due to the limited amount of research found on this methodology the study set out to determine if iTLS could provide a solution for the selected packaging facility if any constraints, wastage and process variation was identified. A longitudinal study was performed, based on secondary data collected from six different sources. Selected tools and techniques from the three methodologies were applied in the three areas of focus, namely: throughput, waste and quality. The results showed that the facility's single most limiting factor was the large amount of waste generated. This prevented the organisation from achieving higher production yields. A value analysis was done, which indicated that the company was only putting a quarter of all its effort into value-adding features of the product. A sigma level calculation was done, based on the number of defects per million opportunities; this was found to be uncompetitive in a competitive market. A conclusion regarding the findings of the research study were presented and recommendation provided for implementation by the organisation. The research study was evaluated in terms of the primary and secondary objectives, and it was concluded that both were achieved. Recommendations for further research into the iTLS methodology were proposed.