SABMiller’s Plzensky Prazdroj brewery implemented TRACC World Class Manufacturing (WCM) best practices at the site of the company’s original brewery in Plzen, Czech Republic. Despite initial resistance, the results were so impressive WCM was rolled out to two other brewery sites. The results showed improvements in keg line and export bottling efficiency as well as a reduction in breakages. The other sites saw similar KPI improvements, including financial benefits of more than 6 million Czech Crowns at the Radegast brewery facility.
Although certainly on the right track in terms of vision, an initial Best Practices Assessment done by a three-man TRACC team at the Plzensky Prazdroj brewery facility indicated that some of the site’s older manufacturing practices were hampering its quest to become the top brewery in Europe.
Also, although the company’s commitment to maintaining traditional methods as much as possible was admirable, it resulted in many employees showing an initial resistance to the introduction of a World Class Manufacturing (WCM) program.
To counter this resistance, a Steering Committee chaired by the company president issued a brochure to each employee, outlining the purpose and scope of the WCM program and how it would affect them in the workplace. Site visits were also made to other successful TRACC implementation sites in nearby Poland.
Three pilot areas were identified for the WCM introduction because of their prominence in the brewery process, their importance to the final product and also the improvement opportunities. The areas were the filtration and bright beer tanks, export bottling line and the keg line.
The WCM program kicked off by establishing a Task Force and teams for each of the selected areas. Each team identified Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and within a short period, rapid progress was made in the TRACC Foundation best practices of Teamwork, Visual Management, 5S, and Focused Improvement.
Many team members from the original pilot lines were transferred to the new facility, which soon resulted in the rapid deployment of best practices.
The progress was so impressive that implementation of the Pillar TRACCS was strongly encouraged soon afterwards. Several improvement programs were conducted, and significant benefits materialized not only in quality and safety, but also financially. Two years later, the WCM implementation of Foundation TRACCs was rolled out to all other operations.
During the same period, initial assessments were conducted in two other breweries, and WCM implementation was implemented soon afterwards. The bottling line was the pilot site at Velke Popovice, and the keg line and brewing house were pilot sites at Radegast.
The subsequent scorecard revealed that keg line efficiency at the main plant was up from 83% to 96%, export bottling efficiency from 74% to 88%, and bottle breakage reduced from 0.99% to 0.70%. Similar KPI improvements were achieved at the other two breweries with projected financial benefits of more than 6 million Czech Crowns (Koruna) per annum at Radegast. When Plzensky Prazdroj commissioned a new state-of-the-art packaging hall in Plzen, the export line was decommissioned. Many team members from the original pilot lines were transferred to the new facility, which soon resulted in the rapid deployment of best practices.
Several improvement programs were conducted, and significant benefits materialized not only in quality and safety, but also financially.
The final proof of Plzensky’s commitment to WCM methods and systems is that it’s being used to combine the initiatives of the environmental health and safety and ISO 9000 programmes into a single integrated management system across all group breweries.
|The Czech-based Plzensky Prazdroj brewery, meaning “original source of Pilsner”, began in 1842 as a collective facility operated by several independent brewers from Plzen, a town about 90km west of Prague, the Czech capital. Today, owned by SABMiller plc, Plzensky Prazdroj is the leading producer and exporter of Czech beer, producing from four breweries in the Czech Republic. While maintaining the quality and character that made the original Plzensky Prazdroj brewery such a success, the plant has taken many steps toward modernization. The group’s flagship brand for its international portfolio is its legendary bottom-fermented Pilsner Urquell, the world’s most imitated original. Through its brands Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, Radegast and Velkopopovicky Kozel, it is the largest exporter of beer in the Czech Republic. Plzensky has been part of the SABMiller group of companies since 1999.
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