Sacmi is a mechanical engineering company manufacturing machines for plastics, ceramics and beverages, for food and plastic processes. The Imola based company has worldwide sales of approximately 1.5 billion Euros.
The need for greater market competitiveness pushed Sacmi’s Closures Division to develop a new product development process as well as a new product.
Various critical issues in the product development process emerged from the VSM (Value Stream Mapping) phase. Including:
- several communication barriers throughout the processes, at the expense of inter-company communication
- numerous modifications to projects while in progress resulting in interruptions and repeated work
- a lack of shared standards
- the lead time in developing new machines was too long (2-3 years)
- unexploited and unstructured knowledge in the company
Following the AS-IS analysis (the analysis of current processes), and the Hansei phase (reflecting on the critical issues that emerged), the TO-BE phase must be defined. The future product development process, to be implemented during the development of a new machine, resolved some of the emerging critical issues:
– definition of ordered work frequency and team meetings, for example pre-arranged meetings and different frequencies depending on the type of team
– separation of the substreams of the various groups with the necessary inputs and outputs clearly defined;
– introduction of the concept paper and the pre-planning (Kentou) and project organisation phase;
– definition of new processes and tools for the different stages of new product development
These are just some of the lean principles defined in the new process both for the development of the new machine and for future implementation.
After having defined the new process and some foundations, we proceeded to defining the new machine’s concept paper: a task where the objectives and features of the new product in both its components and its context (technological trends, competition and market) are analysed and defined in advance, in order to capitalise on strengths, fill gaps and act with a view to differentiation.
The next step is the Project Review Management System: seven phases with key deliverables and deadlines. All these are clearly visible in the project’s Obeya Room.
The new machine, exhibited for the first time at a trade show at Düsseldorf in 2011, was remarkably successful.
The result was more worthwhile for the company, thanks to the preference for making smart changes over simple cost-cutting.
Tangible results were also seen from the corporate organisation point of view: the approach to management has improved outputs thanks to timely and effective meetings, for example, or mentoring in different roles. SACMI thus learned to identify critical issues and act on them promptly.
- Lead time – 40%
- Changes in progress – 75%
- Cycle time – 16%
- Machine availability – 7%
- Machine cost – 7%
- Total cost index – 20%
- reduction targets met for both total product development time (-35/40%) and annual changes (-50%)
“All of the main objectives of the project were fully achieved: reduced cycle time (we exceeded the target speed with no problems), decreased energy consumption (we also reduced energy consumption at high speeds and by a greater percentage than expected), lower costs (today’s forecasts are at a cost not too far from the target).”
(Team Leader SACMI)
“The actual turnover of the Closures & Containers Division exceeded 171 million Euros with growth over the previous year of just under 12%, in spite of a world economy that has not yet returned to pre-crisis levels.” (Sacmi Annual Report 2010)