Jacob Douwe Egberts

Upfield pleased with EZ-GO:
‘no more readjustments’

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Using the EZ-GO platform, margarine manufacturer Upfield wanted to gain increased control over Autonomous Maintenance and respond more quickly to deviations. It turned out there were other benefits too, particularly regarding efficient start-up and machine change overs.


The next step in TPM for Upfield

Process Improvement Manager Ronald Mol is an experienced manager at Upfield and has worked for many years on the professionalization of their processes. ‘In 1997 we launched Total Productive Maintenance. From that time on we let operators do more and more autonomous maintenance tasks. All that time, we did this on paper.’

‘When we were introduced to the EZ-GO digital platform, we saw two major potential benefits: we would be better able to identify and record when tasks have been completed and we would be able to follow up deviations more effectively. And in fact this turns out to work extremely well. Going through and checking off checklists is easy and operators enjoy using them. Following up on deviations is also very effective. When an operator identifies a deviation they pass this on to the support group (Technical Support, Electrical and Instrumentation Services and the Process Improvement Manager). This group then implements measures, potentially together with the operator.  The operator receives feedback about the intervention through the app and can then indicate whether the problem has been solved. That makes the app very helpful.’

Upfield Autonoom Onderhoud Digitale Transformatie Fabriek

Saving time through clearer processes

Besides checklists, the EZ-GO platform also includes tasks and operating instructions, which operators use for things like starting up and change over machines. ‘Previously, operators would often do this according to their own methods,’ says Mol. ‘We got together and determined what the best procedure was for each task. The app now contains checklists for starting up and change over machines. This renders the methods unambiguous and it limits readjustment to the absolute minimum, saving a lot of time.’


Easy reconfiguration to baseline position

Upfield’s machines operate in different formats and use different process parameters. Sometimes these need to be tweaked. The EZ-GO app contains photos of all the programs on all the machines in zero position. This means every operator can easily return to the baseline situation whenever they need to.  This adds tremendous value for Upfield.


Preventing peaks in maintenance

Upfield was able to transfer most AM tasks directly into EZ-GO. By now, a unit technician always keeps an eye on the lists too. ‘Some checks or steps turn out to be outdated and this is a good opportunity to adjust them,’ says Ronald Mol. In addition, the company made another significant improvement to efficiency. ‘Over time, monthly tasks had become increasingly clustered, causing some weeks to be chock-full of monthly checks. Such peaks cause unnecessary pressure in the workplace. At the same time, you can’t simply spread them out evenly over four weeks; it’s best to perform all tasks that are physically closely related at the same time. EZ Factory helped us by providing an analysis and an improved division of these tasks. That increases stability in the workload and reduces pressure in the workplace.’


Operators improve processes themselves

Upfield is still discovering additional applications and is expanding the implementation of EZ-GO, including for safety and quality audits. For Mol, this makes perfect sense within the objective of constant improvement: ‘The overview that the checklists provide, the clear visual operating instructions, the option to report and follow up problems, as well as the auditing options – all these features combine to give us increased control over the processes and help us improve them, directly in the workplace.’

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