Tuesday 21 April 2015

Quantified KM success story #88 - Unilever

Here is another great quantified success story from knowledge management and the re-use of best practices. 

The story illustrates the combination of benchmarking and knowledge sharing that works well when implementing KM across a series of productionn sites

A Unilever ice cream factory in Flen, Sweden has saved significant amounts of energy and water and a Frigo factory in Barcelona, Spain has cut wastewater impurities by 20%.   
The Unilever factory in Flen made energy and water savings by simply reusing cooling water for washing and environmental training in Barcelona contributed to a 20% cut in the level of impurities in wastewater at the Frigo factory. These are two of the many examples of good practices found by a specialist team especially set up to investigate the variations in environmental data in the Ice Cream and Frozen Foods Business Group. 
The discrepancies became apparent when data was collected to produce the environment report. The team reviewed eight manufacturing sites and benchmarked the different factories to identify underlying factors that influenced the data. They found that the environmental loads varied according to the type of product manufactured, for example a factory that manufactures take-home products, such as one litre tubs of ice-cream, has less environmental impact than one which manufactures impulse products such as Magnum. Other factors included degree of plant utilisation, level of environmental training and efficiency of refrigeration plant. 
Sharing good practices 
A list was also compiled of good practices pioneered locally that could be shared with other factories. Approximately 90 examples were found for ice cream and 90 for frozen foods, although a number of these were common to both areas. Examples of good practice were grouped under a series of headings - such as cleaning, segregation and training - to help communicate the benefits to others. Benefits in each example were highlighted to demonstrate how the practice can influence environmental parameters, such as water use, chemical oxygen demand (COD), solid waste and energy. 
Examples identified include: 
  • reducing water used in washing by installing an automated system to transfer ingredients, at the Sagit frozen foods factory in Cisterna, Italy 
  • reducing waste and COD by removing organic matter from the water used to wash vegetables at the Langnese Iglo frozen foods factory in Reken, Germany 
  • reducing the amount of waste frying oil requiring disposal by the installation of on-line monitoring equipment at Birds Eye Walls, Lowestoft.

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