Reducing Time and Steps in Shipping

Hosted at Pacific Plug & Liner – Watsonville, CA

The Problem

The selecting and shipping process for Pacific Plug & Liner’s finished product line was slowed by people and product travel between quality product. Crew members were picking up and putting down the product multiple times, and excess product travel and people motion existed in the process of getting selecting shuttle trays from ground to cart. There was inventory build up of racks loaded with product. Confusion and time delays occurred when loading trucks with racks, as racks were out of sequence and had to be re-sorted before going on to the truck. Additionally, lack of equipment created delays in moving product.

How The Problem Was Solved

The Peters Company worked with the PP&L shipping team to apply lean principle to create a new “least waste way” to ship finished product. We started by cleaning and organizing the area to eliminate safety hazards and clarify the available process area. The team looked carefully at each step to see where value was being added to the customer, and worked to eliminate steps that did not add value.

Working together, the team reduced the overall batch size throughout the process, arranged the staging lines and divided the racks into two lines in order to reduce the amount of time the staging crew spent searching for the appropriate shipping rack. The team also removed the belt and combined multiple process steps in selecting to reduce handling and create better flow. Additionally, the team trained drivers to work in synch with the rest of the crew so that product was always moving and not sitting idle. The team also added the consolidation of product to the selecting team’s responsibilities, creating a much cleaner bay and improving the work space for all crews that work in the area, including growing, inventory, transplanting, and selecting.

Value to the Client

  • Cut overall shipping lead time in half
  • Reduced the crew size by five
  • Reduced staging operator travel by 62 percent
  • Reduced selecting lead time by 50 percent
  • Reduced selecting operator travel by 92 percent
  • Increased units per worker hour for selecting operator by 111 percent

“We’ve had great results from the training and event facilitation by The Peters Company. They helped us cut lead time for shipping our field product in half. The first event we did together not only eliminated waste, but was the first time in my experience that we were functioning as a team. An unexpected benefit has been the formation of a team with a bias for action to improve the business.”

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