Author Stéphanie Perraut / Magazine Process Alimentaire n°1380 - 2020 May
Founded in 1986 in Malaunay near Rouen (Normandy, France), Nutriset has become a leading player in the fight against malnutrition in the countries of the global South. In 2018, on its Normandy site, the group produced 40,000 tonnes of nutritional foods in individual sachets. Established to meet the global nutritional needs, subject to sharp fluctuations, it had no option but to implement a hyper-agile industrial model.
"Our products have a two-year shelf life. But we cannot ship them if they are more than four months old because the supply times to beneficiaries can be long. Our production levels are relatively unpredictable. We can go from 30 to 140% of charge in a few days,"
Sébastien Decubber, Director of the Exploitation Division
Nutriset is proud to have committed employees.
"For optimization projects, we operate on a reverse pyramid decision-making scheme: requests come from the field level. We focus on win-win strategies that improve performance, but also develop operators' skills and improve quality of life at work."
This positive dynamic can lean on the many automation and robotics projects that have emerged. Digital is an increasingly important part of the factory.
PRODUCTION UNDER CONTROL
The information system was developed and built around Infor's M3 ERP. Tools by the start-up TeepTrak, production halt detection devices and tablet-based reporting solutions, help track productivity.
"We rely on data recovery at key positions to capitalize on this information and improve continuous training,"
To this end, the company has generalized the use of automats, sensors and connected equipment on key steps of production. The exploitation of this data is a move towards predictive maintenance. It helps with the industrialization of new products.
The outcome is an improvement of the process and quality of the finished products. The OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) increased by 11% and the compliance rate for finished products exceeded 99.5%. Mobile digital screens are placed at various locations on the site to display key information on a regular basis.
INCREASED WORK COMFORT
At the same time, Nutriset has worked to reduce low-value-added, cumbersome and repetitive tasks. In the past, two-thirds of the plant's workforce consisted of temporary workers due to a boom-and-bust pattern activity.
"Today there are fewer of us, but two-thirds of the workforce is on a fixed contract. Our employees are “augmented” operators. Augmented because they have new tools but also because the technical requirements to operate have increased"
Among the new problems generated by a small workforce, Nutriset considered those related to isolation. In the absence of problems to manage on the machine, the operator could "get bored". This would prove counterproductive and unproductive.
"Our goal is to take advantage of these times to raise blocking points on the periphery of the equipment. The idea is to reconnect employees to encourage autonomous exchanges. Connected cameras and wristbands should allow them to be less dependent on the machine"
Nutriset has other plans. A study is under way on the integration of AGV (Automatic Guided Vehicles) to bring the pallets of raw materials to big-bag stations. Cobots and exoskeletons could also support some strenuous tasks.
Industrial informatics is highly mobilized. The company is exploring the possibility of operating all its online checkpoints (weighing, metal detector, marking, leaks, near infra-red analyzer...) with a single computer operating system. Another project improvement, a POC (Proof Of Concept) is underway on a single collaborative solution, and more ergonomic than spreadsheet tracking, which hosts all major action plans. This is enough to increase the capacity to manage new projects tenfold.