Monthly Archives: June 2016

Go to the gemba

Every week, Jerry posted problems/opportunities on the bulletin board. His most memorable post was, “The cost of the dry dog food exceeds expectations. Where are we wasting raw materials?”

Starting at the corn silos, I walked the entire processing line for the first time. No corn kernels could be seen between the silos and the hammer mill. I was surprised the hammer mill room was clean. The conveyance from the hammer mill to the dry mixing tanks looked fine. I passed the extruders many times every day so I knew the waste wasn’t there. Ditto for the oven and storage silos.

Immediately before the dry dog food was put into bags, it was sprayed with a water based liquid. The nozzles in the sprayer unit pointed downward. When the line shut down, which normally occurred many times an hour, all the liquid leaked out of the pipes above the nozzles. This flaw in the system cost the company 30,000 gallons of meat digest per year.

Bending the pipes upward at the nozzles prevented the leakage. This simple solution saved the company three truckloads of meat digest per year.

How could we have caught this problem sooner?

Customers had been complaining about moldy dry dog food for years. Mold needs water to multiply. Meat digest was 90% water. The over application of meat digest to the product directly under the leakage may have been responsible for the moldy product. It was the only place we purposely sprayed a water based liquid onto the dry kibble.

Customers always tell us where the process is deficient. Customer concerns must be shared with all employees. Were the meat digest nozzles pointing downward at the company’s other plants?