moisture control

big food

problem / opportunity

Operators trained and empowered in SPC and Control Charts recognized significant variation in the moisture content of manufactured food product. The variation drove the average moisture for the food product well below the statutory legal limit causing significant losses for the organization.


The operators assessed the best and quickest way to eliminate variation and ruled out engineering solutions due to cost and delay before realizing results. Best option was to analyze operator variation. Jobs were rotated weekly for the team of 8 operators. The team agreed to not rotate positions as a pilot and secured management and sponsorship for the project. The pilot project was planned for 6 weeks and launched.

Variation improved moisture variation significantly during the pilot with an increase of 2.5% on average during the pilot. Operators were then tasked with creating procedures for each station an operator worked in. The procedures were implemented for all shifts.

maximized value

Results of this operator driven and executed initiative were

  1. A significant reduction in process variation driving greater productivity
  2. Additional moisture (water) was sold at the wholesale price for the food product
  3. An increase in the average quarterly gainshare check from slightly above $300 / quarter to an average of $1,800 / quarter for nearly 3 years until baselines were adjusted
  4. Plant financial benefit averaging $650,000 / quarter for nearly 3 years until baselines were adjusted