Singleton Birch began quarrying Lincolnshire chalk in the 1850’s and is now the UK’s leading independent lime supplier, producing up to 300,000 tonnes of lime and over 1M tonnes of chalk annually.
The Company’s operating policies commit it to continual improvement of its performance, and prior to working with Gemba, staff were using spreadsheets to record manual stoppage data. However, the data was flawed as minor stops (below 15 mins in this case) were omitted, staff sometimes forgot to record data, and efficiency KPI’s were generated based on an average monthly tonnage rather than actual production output. The team wanted to address these issues, get an accurate view of throughput and also implement some visual management techniques. Gemba Solutions was chosen to help them based on the software solution proposed and its ease of use, the attitudes of its staff and value for money of the complete solution.
Gemba’s software automatically collects data in real-time, and so as soon as it was installed, every minor stop and the reason for it was logged, allowing the team to identify small but frequently repeated stoppages that had previously been ignored. “We hadn’t realised how wrong our perception of our problems was, and Gemba’s solution has broken down those perception barriers allowing us to increase production substantially” commented Oliver Whelpton (Process Optimisation Manager). The data also revealed that operators often reduced the speed of their machines unnecessarily, believing their actions would reduce bottlenecks - management have now been able to address these concerns and the operators have full confidence in their process.
"We hadn’t realised how wrong our perception of our problems was, and Gemba’s solution has broken down those perception barriers allowing us to increase production substantially"Oliver Whelpton, Process Optimisation Manager
Singleton Birch report that both throughput and uptime have so far increased by over 50%. Along with this, Gemba has helped to spread the continuous improvement message across the site - a step-change that has been achieved on the back of the consistent and unambiguous data that the software has presented. Benefits have been so significant that Singleton Birch are now rolling the solution out across the whole of the quarry and kilns.
"Gemba’s staff are knowledgeable, courteous and always helpful which has made them a joy to work with. The software has helped to transform not only the performance of the plant but also to change the culture to one of continuous improvement. It is flexible and easy to use and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it to anyone"Oliver Whelpton, Process Optimisation Manager