AS Värska Vesi, located in Värska, Southern Estonia, bottles and markets a wide range of mineral water and drinking water for an expanding global market.
The company has engaged Brian Sainsbury and Tarmo Võidula of B5 Direction to work on 3 improvement projects aimed at introducing lean process efficiencies into the organisation covering:
- Product demand classification strategy and stock management supply
- 5S Workplace Organisation
- OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness)
The first project was focused on developing a strategy of organising the warehouse and production supply processes around Värska Vesi’s different product demand requirements. By utilising a demand strategy based on Runners, Repeaters and Strangers, Värska Vesi was able to define the following product categories:
- Core products – manufactured on a continuous basis and forming the bulk of production volume.
- Products – manufactured regularly to meet customer requirements or to satisfy a recurring demand.
- Products that are manufactured to specific customer requirements on an irregular basis.
The three categories are often referred to as Runners, Repeaters and Strangers.
This was a crucial step for Värska Vesi to differentiate between the three product categories above so that different strategies could be adopted to optimise resources internally and improving all the activities involved in delivering their products
By involving the whole operational team in the improvement projects, Värska Vesi were able to define the Lean activities that best suited to each category of the supply chain such as:
- Core products (Runners) – focussing on implementing flow principles and applying tools such as Kanban, work-in-progress reduction, and elimination of bottlenecks.
- For Repeaters – looking at strategic inventory to reduce lead time, reduced batch sizes, and standardisation.
- For Strangers, focusing on strategic stock policies and optimising flexibility in production to produce these more efficiently.