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Simplot takes lead in continuous improvement

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SIMPLOT Australia is among the top 10 food companies nationally. Employing 2500 people in five direct plants and five contracted plants, the company produces products under the Edgell, Birds Eye, Leggo’s, John West, Ally, Seakist and Harvest brands.

Monitoring cross-site improvements is an important aspect of Simplot’s continuous improvement program. However, with KPI and plant performance data kept on Excel spreadsheets, easy accessibility and visibility are an issue. Obtaining an overview of plant performance KPIs in a single report also requires a great deal of preparatory work, especially if having to be presented in different formats. Resources and capital allocation provide a further challenge, especially across multiple sites.

Simplot Australia is thus currently trialling Citect ’s new hosted application, Meta, for monitoring quality, safety, OEE and production KPIs.

As an on-demand solution, Meta tracks issues, generates reports immediately and provides a unified view of performance across all plants. Visual dashboards and reporting tools are available for weekly meetings, eliminating the time taken to manually create reports. IT support required is minimal.

By automating reporting, Simplot aims to reduce potential human error, costs and the time taken to produce graphs and reports. Meta links to Simplot’s MES and SCADA software employed at certain plants.

To commence the project, Simplot provided Citect with its manufacturing KPIs. Four categories were identified: safety, quality, production and OEE. Each category included three KPIs (like lost-time incidents, complaints per million and equipment availability).

With minimal assistance and training from Citect, Simplot Australia entered the KPIs from five of its plants into the Meta system. Feedback to Citect on functionality, usability and performance is ongoing.

Since the Echuca plant recently implemented Ampla (Citect’s MES solution) to gauge OEE, Meta connected directly to Ampla. Simplot’s other plants continued with using manual entries.

Working with Simplot personnel, Citect developed personalised dashboards to present unique KPI reports to each corporate and plant stakeholder. Dashboard functionality was further configured by users and the graphical tools – such as dials, graphs and webcams – expanded.

Meta’s visual representations are easier to comprehend than columns of numbers. This makes made it easy for users to quickly identify where best practices reside, making decisions based on analytical data rather than intuition.

Simplot sees that a greater accuracy and visual representation of data will enable greater confidence in determining where capital allocation should go.

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