Sinclair Associates
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Results that Last

We work with your management team to build and install the systems and measures necessary to ensure ongoing use of the Integrated Process Management methods and tools to drive continual improvement. Typically, SAI customers experience an initial return on investment such that an individual project pays for a site’s total consulting costs. But the benefits we deliver do not stop there. By maintaining a focus on day-to-day use of IPM techniques, our customers save money in the short term and continue to produce savings in the long term.

Some results of Sinclair Associates' implementation of IPM:

US Borax – Boric Acid Plant Revenue Improvement. Sometimes it is better to let the client describe the benefits of IPM in its own words. back to top

In an Australian-based multi-plant aluminum smelter, IPM was the pathway to build and implement systems for managing and reducing variation in critical Carbon, Potroom and Cast House processes. Cost reductions go straight through to the bottom line. Extensive and unpredictable variation in anode properties (an input) was creating significant process losses in the downstream operation (Potrooms) resulting in increased overtime, material losses, process instability and significant losses in production capacity (current efficiency). Using the IPM approach, our client brought the process from chaos to stability and discovered the true process capability. Downstream problems and losses were eliminated and production increased. The Carbon Plant Manager proudly reported recently “we have taken Potroom problems associated with anode quality off the radar screen and kept it that way for the last 36 months.” back to top

In another aluminum smelting operation, straight through to both the top and bottom-line. In an anode baking operation, lack of control of heat up cycles (stability and predictability) was causing variation in critical anode properties. To compensate for this variation, cycles were extended, testing the capability of the baking process to keep up with demand. The IPM method provided the tools and installed effective process management systems and significantly reduced the cycle variation (time and temperature). The result – a better product, less variation in downstream processes and “new capacity” that allowed the business to “contract bake” product for another company and generate $3 million dollars in additional revenue. back to top

A common result in many of our clients' operations…a changed work culture. In almost every business with which we are engaged, there is an increased level of statistical thinking and significant improvement in the use of data in process management, analysis and decision-making at all levels. Business systems from shop floor process management to executive level performance measures are redesigned, consistent with the “process view.” By taking this process view, production department goals are aligned with the achievement of overall business objectives. The same is accomplished across functional boundaries such as maintenance and operations. At the individual and work team level, performance assessments are tied to process measures and the sustainability of process stability and capability. back to top

Better process management systems can reduce variation and increase throughput. In an autogenous milling circuit, the operations team reduced hour-to-hour throughput variation, which had negatively impacted throughput and recovery, a critical cost factor, in the downstream process. Better process control and response systems and standardized operational decision making led to a quick 20% increase in throughput due to lessening the impact of input material variation, and quicker, more accurate response to process changes. back to top

Creating synchronous pull through three dependent processes leads to increased throughput. In a South African Copper Smelter, using the IPM methodology, the operations team improved the synchronous flow between three tightly linked and dependent process steps. The IPM approach provided a combination of tactics to address major sources of “flow disruption” including equipment reliability, standardization of process control decisions and responses for process adjustments, as well as unbalancing these three steps to effectively create a “vacuum pull.” The result was a roughly 10% throughput increase in 12 weeks. back to top

Increasing Throughput by reducing changeover losses. In a Copper Smelter, changeover time on the converters (a bottleneck) was reduced by 40% by redesigning the changeover process, eliminating non-value added tasks, creating parallel tasks, externalizing much of the work (no longer done while converter was down), sequencing the work better and introducing strict standard procedures and measures and feedback. The crews themselves were integral in the redesign of the process. back to top

In a Rod Mill the scrap rate was reduced by 75% as a result of better process control and the introduction of standards and procedures and the systems for monitoring critical process variables both before and during casting. back to top

In a Chemical Lab the number of people required to provide “lab services” was reduced by 50% through process flow analysis, process simplification, elimination of waste and eliminating tests determined to be unnecessary by a systematic analysis of customer needs. This was a classic “lean” exercise. People shifted roles into newly created “improvement specialist” roles throughout the business. back to top

At an international aluminum smelter, using Lean Synchronous Flow techniques, the “cell turnaround time” for replacing old cells was reduced by 90% resulting in a significant increase in the cell days available for making metal. back to top

At an Aluminum Recycling Facility, the application of IPM Stability Foundation principles and an integration of variation reduction and lean synchronous flow technologies resulted in increased throughput in the existing facility. This improvement yielded a double bonus — higher revenue (through increased throughput) and lower costs (due to a reduction in unit cost of conversion). Key features of this implementation included:

  • Visual systems for process control
  • Unbalancing the flow between stages of the process
  • Instituting routine daily process inspections resulting in problem detection prior to process interruption
  • Establishing measures for the plant based on flow and throughput – with the focus being on keeping the constraint running all the time and at the right rate. back to top

A European Smelter needed to significantly reduce costs in a 2-year period. A goal was set to improve current efficiency (aluminum smelter) by 2% in less than 12 months by following the Integrated Process Management methodology. The value of these improvements is estimated at US$ 3.5MM per annum. Although a longer period is required to verify improvements and sustainability, early indications suggest the 2% improvement in current efficiency is well within reach.

Using a “project focused approach,” the following results have been achieved in roughly 12 weeks (implementation is ongoing).

  • Demonstrated improvement in metal and bath level control in the Potrooms – reducing the variation from cell to cell and over time by 50%
  • Demonstrated ability to provide 100% supply of rodded anodes for the Potrooms up from 68%. This was primarily achieved through using a synchronous flow approach, reducing process dependency, reducing variation and increasing uptime in the bottleneck operation, regulating flow of material through the system and using strategic buffers.
  • Improvement in the reliability of supply of “covering material” to 100% uninterrupted supply. Primary strategies included fixing obvious process problems identified during structured process studies, application of Visual 5S, visible display of process data and introduction of process control and response plans to assist operators with decision making and the timing and consistency of process adjustments. back to top

At a manufacturer of power pole transformers a lightning-fast turnaround was required. Significant defect losses in the electro-coat paint line were restricting flow though the plant, contributing to on-time delivery problems and significant loss in overall plant capacity. The paint line process had gradually deteriorated in terms of day-to-day precision in process management and control. Regarded as a classic “stability foundation” problem, a process team set out to regain control of the process through introducing Visual 5S, Statistical Control and Response and reinstituting standardized work practices. The result — paint rejects are down by over 75%, plant flow has improved and delivery performance (and backlog) reflects these improvements. back to top

Thanks to our clients who have allowed photographs of their operations to be displayed at this web site
 
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