Saudi Arabia's 2030 vision targets an increase of 34% in non-oil revenue participation in the GDP, thus the need for automation and digital transformation. The Company ER is a market leader producing high-quality dairy products in the Kingdom and is a pioneer in the production industry. The company has recently increased the capacity of its milk factory to meet its vision. An investment was made to automate the pallet handling procedures at the milk factory to provide increased production for daily consumption. The new automation transition in Company ER's milk factory provides a unique opportunity to utilize lean management tools to improve the current automated processes before commercialization.
OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) will monitor losses for different operational losses in the new automated system and indicate system improvements, with 85% as the target. Based on DMADV (design, measure, analyze, design and validate) methodology, this study analyzes the entire automated pallet handling system. It uses lean tools to identify areas for improvement, identify waste elements and propose solutions to achieve Company ER's OEE targets.
In this paper, the outcomes will be presented as documented solutions that address the losses encountered in the production system, showing a 12.8% increase in the system's OEE.
Owing the time and resource constraint, this study only involved automated pallet handling procedures in a milk production facility. Hence, the generalization of the result is slightly limited. More studies in several different processes and sectors are required.
This study provided a valuable tool for researchers for gaining deeper understanding regarding the lean manufacturing and its implementation. For practitioners, it is useful to evaluate the degree of lean manufacturing tools in their material handling systems.
This study is the first attempt to develop lean manufacturing constructs for evaluating the automated pallet handling procedures in a milk production facility.
Alnounou, R.T., Asiri, R.A., Alhindi, S.A., Shams, L.M., Ali, S.S. and Özceylan, E. (2022), "Improving automated pallet handling procedures at a Saudi milk factory through overall equipment effectiveness", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/BIJ-06-2022-0411
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