Unilever Home and Personal Care Organization

Topics: Production line, Industry, Layoff Pages: 5 (1334 words) Published: April 18, 2010
Unilever Home and Personal Care Organization
Ronald Williams Jr
Mar 1, 2010

Unilever Home and Personal Care Organization
Unilever Home and Personal Care (HPC) formerly Cheese Borough Ponds, a manufacturing facility in Jefferson City, Missouri produce Dove, AXE, Suave, Sunsilk, and Vaseline Intensive Care lotions, shampoos, conditioners, and body washes. The liquid product filling facility offers a diverse range of products with more than 90 products and nearly 300 unique individual sizes and package shapes, The variety of products made, require hundreds of components, and a complex packaging line process to produce, package, label, pack, and palletize these sellable goods. The complexity of this process was enormous, and although profitable, plant manager Dennis Meyers, saw an opportunity for improvement. Reorganization of Unilever Home and Personal Care

Dennis Meyers, Unilever HPC plant manager, and the management team in the Jefferson City plant, set out to create a plan for change. Enlisting the help of the plants employees the management team initiated a complex evaluation of the production plants processes and organization.

According to Dennis Meyers (D. Meyers, personal communication, Mar 5, 2010), “The organizational structure led to inefficiency, and confusion among the production employees, departmentalization and a lack of communication between departments caused conflicts in resources, production processes, and increased costs to the company. Duplication of administrative functions in support of production added to the cost per piece of goods produced. Conflicts between departmental shift supervisors, created an atmosphere of competition rather than cooperation between the departments with support and material resources. Production line equipment was obsolete and maintenance intensive, the lack of flexibility in the lines increase the labor requirements for operation and maintenance. As a result of product line diversity weekly production time losses per line averaged 12-14 hours, to retool, and reconfigure the lines for different products. A large portion of employees had been with the company for 25 years or more and were not familiar with the new technology available in the packaging industry.” In a telephone interview Dean Quick, Unilever’s engineering and maintenance manager stated, “In this evaluation Unilever Home and Personal Care found the production line process inefficient, cumbersome, and difficult to maintain. To operate and maintain the seven packaging lines, a staff of 224 comprised of operators, maintenance, and supervisory personnel are divided in to four, twelve hour shifts. Departmentalization of the plant into lotions and hair care, with each having departmental supervisors, production supervisors, and administrative personnel is inefficient and cost prohibitive” (D. Quick, personal communication, Mar 5, 2010).

Departmentalization of the production lines creates a conflict between the departments, and support services, warehouse personnel do not know which production line has priority when pulling raw materials from the warehouse and delivering to the production lines, occasionally resulting in a line shut down while waiting for materials.

The physical arrangement of the production lines generates division among employees, with the production lines passing through walls making communication between production line operators difficult, and requiring wasteful time consuming routes for staging and moving of raw materials to the packaging lines. The layout of the production line equipment also creates additional time requirements to maintain cleanliness, case packing and liquid filling equipment close to one another cause corrugated dust to interfere with production, requiring additional cleaning time to maintain good manufacturing process (GMP) requirements of clean sanitary liquid filling equipment.

Departmentalized product compounding facilities...

References: Meyers, D. (2010, Mar 5). Telephone interview
Quick, D. (2010, Mar 5). Telephone interview.
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