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Process Improvement Case Studies

Process Improvement Projects

Reducing Biological Oxygen Demand at Kahiki Foods

Kahiki Foods: Kahiki Foods, located in Gahanna, OH is a premier supplier of high-quality Asian-style frozen foods. In December of 2008, Kahiki began receiving extra-strength surcharges from the City of Columbus division of Public utilities for its water quality. Of the three metrics used to quantify water quality, BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) accounted for 74% of charges bringing Kahiki's total extra strength bill to an astounding $204,000 for FY2009.

Given these costs and Kahiki's support for the environment, and ocean conservancy, a Six Sigma team was chartered to dramatically reduce BOD levels using the DMAIC roadmap. Six months post project charter, BOD has been reduced almost 70% with a goal of 95% reduction by Dec. 2010.

Reducing WIP at a Frozen Food Manufacturer (2 Parts)

Kahiki Foods is an expanding, family-run Asian foods manufacturer with about 200 employees in Gahanna, Ohio, USA. The company produces more than 70 different kinds of frozen food products. As is typically the case with rapid growth, some operational processes have been slower to reach maturity, including the optimal management of work in process (WIP), the amount of work that has entered the process but has not been completed.

Featured on iSixSigma.com, the objective of this DMAIC project was to reduce the WIP levels to controlled buffers by creating a pull system for the product. The goal was to eventually eliminate WIP creation from the process, and this is presented as a two-part case study.

'Fresh eyes' fuel gains for Habitat for Humanity

It's a win-win-win. Habitat's MidOhio office is partnering with student teams at Ohio State to supplement the classroom with real project work. After the students complete MoreSteam's online Transactional Green Belt course, they apply their knowledge to real business problems. The students have helped the ReStores to become more efficient and to increase their revenue, which helps to offset the cost of building new homes.

Lean Projects

Lean Principles Help Bus Company Reduce Downtime

Collins Bus Corporation in Hutchinson, Kan., recently reinvented itself through implementation of lean manufacturing principles. (Source: RELIABLE PLANT)

"Green" Project Examples

3M Lean Six Sigma and Sustainability

3M: Over the last three decades, 3M has prevented more than 2.6 billion pounds of pollutants and saved more than $1 billion by preventing pollution at the source-in products and manufacturing processes. As of 2006, 3M employees have completed more than 6,300 projects focusing on product reformulation, process modification, equipment redesign, or recycling and reuse of waste materials. In 2006, more than 70 percent of the projects relied upon Lean Six Sigma methodology.

Improving Aluminum Can Recycling Rates: A Six Sigma Study in Kentucky

University of Kentucky / Fayette County: A minimal 1% change in the national can recycling rate would result in savings of about $16 million and produce 40 million pounds of aluminum per year. In addition, this 1% change would generate annual energy savings of 1 trillion BTUs. These estimates are based, in part, on the Container Recycling Institute's report that over the past 40 years, 1 trillion aluminum cans have been discarded amounting to approximately $21 billion of wasted potential revenues.