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Lean Transformation at a Dairy Processing Organization

The Challenge

Our client is a large farmer-owned dairy businesses and one of Ireland’s largest dairy processors. The company processes over 900 million litres of milk annually.

Leading Edge Group facilitated a full Lean transformation across four processing sites.

The client also wanted us to work with them to develop an internal Continuous Improvement (CI). This team would consist of coaches who would have the capability to take over the roles and functions that were performed by Leading Edge Group. This is a key element of the LEG/Client engagement – we want to ensure that gains are sustainable and maintain momentum in the long term.

The Solution

The transformation program was implemented across four facilities over an initial two-year period. Six main strategic projects were identified by the client, supported by the Leading Edge Group team. These major projects were implemented in addition to ongoing cross functional projects. A full time CI Manager and Lean champions/coaches were appointed. Work groups were established across all facilities and functions which allowed improvement work to take place easily on the ground. It also ensured that staff members were involved in the change and could take ownership. We worked to improve staff capability and put succession planning in place by delivering an integrated training program in Lean and core soft skills such as change and project management.

In total, the following staff were trained:

  • 250 White Belt
  • 109 Yellow Belt
  • 60 Green Belt
  • 3 Black Belt
  • The aim of all this was to guarantee continued savings throughout the lifetime of the project and going forward into the future.

The Results

Leading Edge Group facilitated major Lean enterprise projects to deliver multi million euro savings. The following main savings were made:

  • €422K Powder projects
  • €173K Speciality Cheese projects
  • €316 Cheddar projects

The organization also achieved improved capability and succession planning and enhanced communication, change management and leadership in their facilities.

The organization reduced the time required for finance market planning from 228 hours to 36 hours; reduced the time taken for month end reporting by 1.5 days and in their shared services centre there was a 50% reduction in errors.

The organization found that the work groups allowed for greater visibility and new ways of working. It provided a communication forum for problem solving and improvement ideas.

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