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Operations study provides 30% increase to production kitchen’s weekly throughput

T. Marzetti, a leading specialty foods producer, states, “Every one of us can make our workplace and processes better.” To fulfill that mission, T. Marzetti engaged CRB’s Consulting Services to identify ways to improve production and operations within its manufacturing facility.

The goal: increase utilization within the facility’s manufacturing kitchens.

Project Details


T. Marzetti

The operations study process:

The project kicked off with goals alignment – before we could suggest operations modifications to our client, we had to understand the underlying drivers and true objectives for the study. Once we set the project goals and established the scope of our facility study, we moved on to data collection, gathering a wide range of the facility’s historical production data. We quickly realized that a spreadsheet model could not capture the complexities of our client’s production processes, large number of product families, SKUs and dynamic scheduling requirements, and produce meaningful insights. Instead, we used a dynamic simulations approach and created a baseline with these gathered inputs to reflect the kitchen’s current-state constraints and dedications. Then we validated the baseline model against the historical performance data. The validated baseline model offered good insights into potential improvement opportunities allowing our team to explore and analyze alternative process scenarios. Running multiple operations scenarios generated robust sets of data, which our team scrutinized to draw meaningful insight and create a plan for actionable operations improvements for our client.

CRB recommended these solutions from our operations study:

  • Engineering changes to decouple lines
  • Adding hold tanks to minimize blocking/starving phenomenon
  • Adjusting the production schedule
  • Reducing downtime duration for certain codes

While these solutions offered some improvements in utilization, the most significant improvement was realized from adjusting the production schedule. This change could be implemented with no CapEx investment.

We developed and simulated a scheduling heuristic and quantified the impact of this change. Our consulting team also developed tools to help the client’s scheduling team implement this heuristic on a day-to-day basis.

Through our detailed operations study, we delivered a scheduling heuristic option that improved kitchen utilization in alignment with the client’s goals. Furthermore, we developed an MS Excel-based tool for T. Marzetti’s scheduling team to run the heuristic as well and develop their production schedules.

Throughput improvement operations study in an infograph Throughput improvement operations study in an infograph

Operations improvements that resulted from CRB’s study:

  • More than 20%-point increase in kitchen utilization
  • About 30% increase in weekly throughput

And the T. Marzetti scheduling team now has the ability to easily improve scheduling in the future with tools designed to help them implement the heuristic on a regular basis.


Ready to increase your kitchen’s throughput and optimization? Let’s talk.



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