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Success Stories: World-Class Operations


Uncovering Hidden Capacity

The Situation

Granite Bay was called in to do an Operational Assessment for a bulk chemical manufacturer in the Midwest. The plant manager was frustrated over that fact that the 4 teams covering 24/7 operations weren’t working together to solve problems and meet aggressive performance goals.

Operating procedures varied by shift, causing quality and yield losses; shop floor operators and technicians were “disconnected” from the goals of the business, resulting in minimal performance improvement; and processing lines were frequently shutting down, creating a chaotic work pace.

The Solution

Granite Bay completed a weeklong, round-the-clock Operational Assessment and benchmarked the operation according to a series of 30 performance factors. Operators, techs, supervisors and line managers were interviewed and an Action Plan was developed with the following objectives: Focus the entire organization around a common set of goals; engage people on all shifts to participate in process improvement; and coordinate the efforts and activities across all shifts to accelerate the rate of improvement.

The Assessment revealed that significant operating capacity was underutilized due to inefficiencies and waste in the manufacturing process. Late shipments and firefighting resulted in orders lost to competitors and sister plants. We built a consensus around a shared vision that empowered the entire organization: we challenged everyone from the plant manager to operators and techs – to recapture this volume by focusing on removing “waste” from their processes.

For the first time in years, everyone rallied around the goal to identify and eliminate all forms of waste in order to bring volume back to their facility. The excitement was contagious as teams began working together, with focused plant floor leadership, and supported by practical, hands-on training in how to apply Best Manufacturing Practices.

We coordinated mini-team training workshops focused on specific improvement projects, and worked with the teams to implemernt them in their work areas. Numerous small kaizens were taking place plant-wide, all focused on one core objective.

The Results

Within 6 months, the plant freed up an additional 12% of capacity. Changeover times were reduced by half in some cases. Yield losses dropped by nearly two-thirds. Equipment uptime increased by 30%. For the first time in 20 years, employees actually looked forward to coming to work. Over time, volumes began to increase and within 18 months, profitability nearly doubled.

But the most amazing change was in the people. Workers began to notice waste and non-value-adding activities that were invisible to them before. They developed a strong sense of ownership of their processes and a deep intolerance for inefficiency in any form. They formed ad hoc teams to eliminate waste wherever they found it, usually without management intervention.

From the site manager: “We’ve always said, ‘it’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission’. Our people are real fired up about their jobs and our plant now. It brought back a level of pride we haven’t seen in years.”

More Successes


We'd like to add your plant to our Success Stories!

If you need faster improvement, more engagement and a plant-wide focus on business objectives, we'd love to hear from you!

Contact us or submit a brief questionnaire describing your challenges and we'll be happy to discuss your situation and suggest some solutions, free of charge.


GRANITE BAY GLOBAL - 916-797-2263 - email
P.O. Box 2514, Granite Bay, California 95746 USA

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