There is one reason or at least one product, which makes it happen: disposable baby diapers. I am not afraid to say disposable baby diapers have been the engine of nonwoven material volume sales increment over the last 25 years. Moreover, disposable baby diapers enable innovation not only into nonwovens R&D but even a broader range such as new fibers, new technology, new materials, new products and new suppliers…in other words, disposable baby diapers created a whole new business.
Disposable baby diaper evolution started into the globalization period where economic boundaries, company acquisitions and merging and market share battles changed the way to do and operate business. The short list mentioned before keeps disposable baby diaper manufacturers very busy trying improve supply chain structure performance. Efficiency, productivity and product quality must be cost effective to keep the product competitive into the market.
Disposable Baby Diaper Operations
Disposable baby diaper operations have become a nightmare during the last 15 years. Market penetration grew so fast and kept growing. Customers are asking for products with both better performance and nicer fit. Market share competition forced aggressive strategies to reduce operational costs. That mix of factors introduced high pressure into manufacturing facilities all over the world.
On the other hand, market behavior encouraged investors to start disposable baby diaper operations almost in every country. The exponential growth of both market demand and disposable baby diaper manufacturers made operations a little more complex due lack of experienced operators and staffing. It is a fact that weak operational structures sooner than later will be the factor that compromises efficiency, productivity and product quality results.
Let us use the following segmentation as a reference: Medium size producers (owning three to five disposable baby diaper converters), small size producers (owning two or three disposable baby diaper converters) and micro producers (one disposable baby diaper converter). Somebody could say: “The lower in segmentation, the higher on pressure which means efficiency, productivity and product quality are more compromised.” It is not true; the pressure is almost the same in every segment. Disposable baby diaper operations struggle every day to be more efficient, more productive and keep the product quality into specifications. Now you can ask, why do you say that?
Key Factors for Producing One Million More Pads Per Converter
For years manufacturers have been compensating their lack of productivity by buying a machine or contracting more capacity to a private label producer. At the same time manufacturers invest either to strengthen its staff’s structure or upgrade disposable baby diaper converters.
Traditionally the staff crew correlates lack of productivity with downtime. It is the long and less effective path to improve operational costs. Lack of productivity must be related with lack of the disposable baby diaper converter’s uptime. Making the analysis from an uptime point of view brings up lot of causes which were hidden behind the downtime distractors.
To use the maximum of your disposable baby diaper converter’s capacity, manufacturers must keep it running the maximum time possible, every production day (not buying a new converter or contracting additional capacity). Once you keep your disposable baby diaper converter running the miracle occurs; scrap rates decrease dramatically. This is a key factor and the cheapest way possible to increase a disposable baby diaper converter’s throughput. The point here is downtime does not generate scrap; re-start generates lot of scrap. So, let’s try to focus staff crew analysis on:
- How do I keep the disposable baby diaper converter running up?
- How do I avoid false re-start ups after disposable baby diaper converter shutdown?
The key factor is to reach less than 10 re-starts per shift of 12 hours. This is achievable in at least two ways:
- Long way with low investment (force staff crew to change their perspective)
- Short way using technology as big data application (LUCIDi4 is a proved choice) plus coaching to “make it right.”