PM Accelerates Bedding Mfg Efficiency
EP Editorial Staff | February 1, 2021
Uptime tracking provides increased operational availability and production rates for comfort-tech company.
Founders Tony and Terry Pearce, brothers and both engineers, knew their company, Purple, Lehi, UT, (purple.com), needed its own manufacturing facility. Purple is a comfort-technology company that designs and manufactures products such as mattresses, pillows, and seat cushions. The brothers knew that they didn’t want their plant to go through all the cycles that many other companies typically experience, including implementing homegrown processes. They wanted to leverage best practices while developing production facilities that are as innovative as their products.
Purple was growing fast and needed their plant floor to match that speed. Downtime is an ever-present danger, and they needed an operations partner that could keep their production lines moving.
Leading2Lean, Sparks, NV, (L2L.com), was brought in to provide their Lean Execution System (LES), a platform that could scale with Purple’s growth, while taking little time and effort to update. Purple began with L2L Maintenance. Not long after seeing the positive maintenance results, the company deployed L2L’s LES Production Module.
The first phase of the Purple L2L project focused on providing real-time data to improve maintenance and reliability processes in the company’s Grantsville, UT, plant. L2L’s web-based software allowed the maintenance team to quickly launch the planning and scheduling of preventive-maintenance functions. The LES Maintenance suite provided real-time performance data that was used to spot and respond to reactive issues.
LES Maintenance usage results included:
• development of an asset-numbering protocol for all the equipment in the facility
• labeling each machine or asset within the plant
• incorporating all facility assets into the system, including items such as urinals and fire extinguishers
• sourcing, purchasing, and assigning laptops for 14 members of the Purple maintenance staff so they could easily use the L2L Maintenance module
• providing six- to seven-day training for the maintenance and production staff on use of L2L software (training was timed during shifts and the plant was not shut down during training)
• capturing data immediately upon completion of an activity
• creating and executing preventive-maintenance tasks, starting with critical equipment
• identifying and repairing any equipment problems
• using collected data to drive continuous cycles of improvement.
Most of the company’s production equipment was proprietary technology that didn’t exist in the manufacturing industry. This required more information collection to continuously validate and improve performance for each machine. It was important that a software tool was chosen that would expand in purpose and scope as it was adapted to manage formal processes and procedures for collecting data.
L2L’s success at improving Purple’s performance in the maintenance department led to deploying the company’s LES Production Module. Production processes demanded clarity of systemic issues. A lack of performance on the plant floor was slowing down production of the company’s most-popular products. Real-time data was needed to take action and improve performance.
The L2L Production Module was used to track and display real-time production metrics. This brought increased visibility to abnormalities and showed opportunities for waste reduction throughout the entire production process. More important, it improved the system of measuring hourly equipment and manufacturing status in real time. L2L’s LES was used to absorb Purple’s older safety and quality systems, which the software accomplished with ease.
A soft landing
Two years after adopting L2L, Purple has seen production improvement across the board. LES is currently used by the maintenance staff of 16 mechanics, two MRO clerks, and a maintenance planner. Purples’ safety, quality, and production teams all use the system to capture events on the factory floor as part of the hourly production cadence. According to Andrew Clarke, VP Engineering & Manufacturing, “The system has given our employees the tools to see the highest impact opportunities for improvement and a way to visually see the impact of actions taken to address them.”
Operators on each production line, using the L2L Production Module, see their schedule displayed on a monitor. The monitor shows the success of the line in real time, providing complete transparency. Each member of the 400-person production team at the Utah plant logs in to the line they’re working on to properly track key performance indicators. This has provided data that was previously unavailable, yet vitally important. The Production Module has led to double-digit improvements in target KPIs.
The production lines use hourly and daily checklists to maintain a high level of quality, ensure that standard operating procedures are followed, and help manage and collect daily checks on the machines.
The 22-month improvement metrics from Purple’s L2L Maintenance rollout show:
• 52% reduction in equipment failures
• 54% reduction in equipment downtime
• 1,400% increase in completed preventive-maintenance events
• 42% increase in on-time completion of preventive-maintenance events.
L2L has driven change in Purple’s bottom-line business performance and cultural development. The software has taken the company from spreadsheet data collection to digital real time. The company also needed a solution for communicating between four shifts. The LES is standardizing procedures and training between shifts and making the platform the system of record on the manufacturing floor.
Employees can find the goals that have been set and track where along the continuum they stand in relation to their completion. These positive developments allow the company to improve manufacturing performance, ensuring products are made in the most cost-effective manner.
Production has increased because assets are running better, longer. Communication across the company has improved, and there’s now a platform that helps pinpoint key problems and allows the company to fix them immediately.
The greatest sign of success is that it’s now become common to end a company developmental conversation with, “Let’s do that in L2L too!” EP
Go to L2L.com for more information.