Productivity Gains at Leading Private Brewer in the UK

A leading private brewer in the UK was operating a bottle-filling contract service for over fifty clients ranging from small local breweries to international wine and spirits corporations. An uptick in market share meant led to an increase variety of packaging materials, a larger amount of stock keeping units (SKUs) and more complexity across the supply chain. To meet the increases in demand, the company attempted to keep up with orders by implementing a third shift. In order to accept new customers, they needed to optimize for increased production capacity. The firm approached T.A. Cook to implement a process improvement project and help the firm reach absolute capacity. Here are the key results:


Decrease in downtime


Supervisor and shop floor behavior improved


Product capacity planning and scheduling tools introduced


Planned maintenance routines and maintenance key performance indicators developed


After examining the company’s processes, techniques and behaviors, the consultancy identified a variety of areas to boost bottling throughput by 20%. To improve communication between departments, operating and maintenance staff, the groups were brought together to streamline certain processes. This led to increased performance as well as problem-solving in cases of machinery failure. The team then divided SKUs into clear categories which establishing a new set of operating norms for future planning. Specific production limitations were then taken into account. Production targets were tested and recorded, a process which helped incentivized the maintenance team ensure machinery could meet the desired production output.


The project led to improvements in the site’s process capabilities. Output increased significantly with production capacity reaching an increase of 35%. Improvements in communication, cooperation and reporting between departments resulted in 25% less downtime, fewer production issues and reduced need for investment in new equipment. The employee-based “continuous improvement” scheme enabled team members identify problems and improve processes, control measures, and implement customer-service based improvements.

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