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    Quantum Leap Yield Improvement

    Production Preparation Process (3P)—Milestone 13


    Situation Summary
    The utilization of Kaizen events was not providing the level of yield improvement that the plant yield performance improvement goals specified.

    The team utilized 3P in developing a process improvement that puts the plants actual yield improvement trajectory on track to the plant’s annual yield improvement goal.

    Primary: Yield improvement
    Secondary: Safety improvement Quality improvement


    Project Duration
    3 months

    The team internally developed a new to the industry (code for not available via any equipment manufacturer!) piece of equipment that effectively contains process contamination that was driving scrap. Deployed cost per line… less than $10,000.

    Key Outcomes

    • All bold goals exceeded
    • 2.6% annualized yield improvement
    • Look on plant manager’s face during final project report-out to the division president… priceless.
    • Internalized the 3P process so the plant can self-facilitate in the future

    Stages of a 3P Project

    I. Project Sponsorship
    II. Planning Process
    III. Project Milestone Plan Development
    IV. Team Leader and Team Training
    V. Discovery
    VI. Narrowing
    VII. Implementation

    Situational Challenge

    In the highly competitive world of vinyl siding production, “process yield is king.” A fraction of a percentage point change in yield traditionally is very difficult to attain let alone sustain. So you can imagine what was going through one plant manager’s head when he got the news that yield had to improve 2.4% above last year’s performance. Did I mention that at the same time ongoing formulation changes were occurring to help reduce cost? To complicate matters further, in this plant the granularity of the loss reporting codes was insufficient in exposing the root cause of the yield loss… a couple years ago, the decision was made to “simplify and consolidate” the loss coding system… to the point that it was useless for problem solving purposes. The sweet spot loss code at this plant is labeled “Unknown.”

    Project Activities

    After the plant manager became convinced that Kaizen events were not going to secure the quantum leap yield improvement that his feet were being held to the fire on, he met with his Productivity Inc. business partner to discuss options. We introduced him to the Production Preparation Process (3P), explained how 3P would address his need and outlined what his role would be as the project sponsor. Working together, we then reviewed and discussed the 7 basic stages of a 3P project (see side bar), selected a project leader and the part-time project team members, agreed to the bold goals of a 2.5% yield improvement and an extremely aggressive deployed solution cost target, roughed out a project milestone plan, negotiated line access limits for rapid prototype experimentation purposes, agreed to team decision rights and a project oversight protocol.

    The Project

    During the first phase the Productivity consultant met with site leadership to set the foundation for the project. In Phase 2 and 3, the focus shifted to the 3P team where the consultant worked to develop metrics and provide education and ongoing guidance to the team members as they worked on the project.

    The Rollout

    • Establish project “Bold Goals”
    • Outline project business case
    • Create project Milestone Plan
    • Facilitate data collection and analysis
    • Prepare 3P team leader and team members for the project ahead
    • Facilitate building of the “Moonshine Shop”
    • Formally launched the project as a “full-time” improvement initiative
    • Conduct 3P Training
    • Create management reporting system
    • Provide ongoing support and direction to 3P team

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