Coca Cola Refreshments - Business Consulting Project

Project Details

Project Client: Coca Cola Refreshments
Project Description: Process Improvement Analysis
Students: Thai Lee and Uzeyir Salmanov
Term: Fall 2012
BCIT Program: Business Operations Management
The British Columbia facility of Coca-Cola manufactures a very large variety of drinks consumed in high quantities every day. Each of the several dozen products can come in various bottles and cans, as well as multi packs and variety packs. Management recognized the opportunity of improving the setup process that occurs when the line moves to a new product.

The purpose of the project was to determine how the flavour changeover process can be modified to reduce total duration and consistency of results. The BCIT student team would propose alternative solutions, evaluate and present an implementation plan for the best option.

The project first focused on analyzing the historical records of changeovers for the period of June to September 2012. The team used about 300 hundred data points to perform a statistical analysis that put hard numbers on the management’s variability concerns. Additionally the data provided averages, maximum and minimum results, and the range of results for various lines and flavour changeovers. The students then performed an activity sampling exercise to gather more detailed data about the steps of the process. With multiple samples taken for each line, the analysis showed further variability.

Students broke the changeover process into independent tasks and demonstrated that best results can be achieved by combining the methods for a specific element used by operators in different samples, yielding a minimum 30% time improvement on the average results.

It was recommended that a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) be developed for each particular type of product changeover at the plant. To combine best methods, a team approach to implementation was promoted with inputs from all staff involved in the process. The team suggested two documents: a written SOP with full details and a supplementary graphic version to present an overview of the process and focus on time for each sub-task. The students provided a framework for both documents with content descriptions and samples, and described a plan for further actions for the implementation team.

The proposal would substantially reduce the average duration of a changeover and minimize variance. Coca-Cola management estimated the potential benefits of the project at over $60,000 in annual savings from labour costs alone and are therefore looking to start implementation in the coming month.