Focused improvement eliminates machine stoppages at HBL

focused improvement

Executive Summary
SABMiller India proudly holds one-third of the Indian beer market. Their Manufacturing Way WCM program was implemented in 2009 at various sites, including the Haryana Brewery Limited (HBL) using TRACC. Since then, various successes have been achieved at the site, one particular Profit Improvement Project taking their wrapper packer machine — the highest instigator of production downtime of 87 hours over three months (3 stoppages per 8-hour shift) — to full operation of no stoppages in an 8-hour shift.


The SABMiller WCM program, called The Manufacturing Way, was launched at Haryana Brewery Limited (HBL) during 2009 using the TRACC Foundation Best Practices. From the Focused Improvement TRACC (FI TRACC), a structured loss and waste analysis is conducted and analyzed for each section of the brewery. In packaging, the Pareto analysis of downtime indicated the carton maker was the machine with the highest production downtime for the previous three months on the returnable bottle line. The wrapper packer is a machine that forms and seals a cardboard carton around 12 beer bottles.

This site, no stranger to continuous improvement, is one of the best performing sites in India as measured with SABMiller’s global The Manufacturing Way. Adopting the SABMiller India problem-solving process, a multidisciplinary team was assembled to tackle this project. It comprised the WCM facilitator, the production supervisor, machine operator, quality support technician and the line artisan.

focused improvementUsing the DMAIC method described in the FI TRACC, the team set out working through the problem.

  • Define: The wrapper packer was the machine causing the highest production downtime (cumulating in 87 hours) for the previous three months under review. (The exact reason was not clear — so more investigation was needed to find the root cause.)
  • Measure: Usually only the filling machine stoppages are recorded in detail, but to focus on this packing machine’s inherent problem, a specific yet simple tally sheet was made. By closely observing the machine and logging each and every problem and performance data, it was determined the problem was due to bottles falling during the transfer from conveyor to machine infeed. The operator would keep the machine running by repeatedly picking up the bottles and restarting!
  • Analyze: The possible causes for this problem were written down on a poster-size fishbone diagram in order to align the team’s thoughts and to be visible to all. The “most probable cause” for the bottles falling now focused on the infeed conveyor and transfer mechanism. Again, by spending time at the machine and through simple observation, the team saw that a transfer plate on the machine had been designed to be too steep, resulting in bottles falling onto the infeed conveyors and jamming in the lane guides.
  • Improve: The team discussed and then designed a “shallower” transfer plate. With the correct technical drawings and change controls, the artisan handmade and installed the replacement part, this time with an angle that was less steep than the original.
  • Control: To confirm that this was the real reason for the problem and that the corrective action was effective, the team once again returned to observe the machine with their tally sheet to document its progress, and the results were astounding — not one bottle fell in the next eight-hour shift.

TRACC has not only delivered very encouraging and sustained improvements in various Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), but has helped to develop an understanding that problems are normal and need to be solved, not hidden. The loss and waste analysis ensures that the highest losses are prioritized, made visible and agreed upon so that there is alignment on the effort to solve them.

The efforts to successfully solve a problem must be recognized to encourage and promote a passion for problem-solving.focused improvement

Using the standard but simplified DMAIC steps — made visible on a flip chart-size template — has brought a structured process to problem-solving, and introduced more discipline and tenacity. The efforts to successfully solve a problem must be recognized to encourage and promote a passion for problem-solving — this is a key success factor of world class manufacturing (WCM).

Company Background
SABMiller entered the Indian beer market in 2000, and has subsequently invested over US$500 million into its 11 high-quality breweries, which are strategically located across nine Indian states. Their market capacity of 5.7 million Hl, combined with their 3,800-strong workforce, makes them well placed to service markets quickly and efficiently. To this end, SABMiller India proudly holds one-third of the Indian beer market, performing at 31% market share in the strong beer segment with its brands Hayward’s 5000, Fosters Strong, Royal Challenge Strong and Knock Out.
Further, brands Peroni, Miller High Life, Royal Challenge, Fosters and Indus Pride dominate the mild beer segment with 28% market share. The company has used its global expertise to create many firsts in India, including the one-way bottles, flash pasteurized and sterile filling, PET and Haywards Black — a genuine stout beer. The company is active in a range of citizenship initiatives including HIV/Aids programs, water conservation and an Agricultural Development Program with barley farmers in Rajasthan. One of the nine breweries, Haryana Brewery Limited (HBL), is the focus of this case study.

This resource has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only, and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained herein without obtaining specific professional advice. Competitive Capabilities International (CCi) does not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this resource or for any decision based on it.

Get more insights like this delivered straight to your inbox.