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A Study on Performance Improvement in loading activity at despatch section

by applying Lean concepts at Saint Gobain Glass, India, (Chennai)

Associate Professor,
KCT Business School,
Kumaraguru College of Technology, Saravanampatti,
Coimbatore, Tamilnadu- 641049, India


Generally, one of the parameter that ensures customer satisfaction is the timely delivery
of products. This requires understanding customer needs, developing products and responding to
customer requests immediately. Therefore, despatch is one of the areas of focus for companies to
ensure effective delivery of products within the time limit. To achieve this, each and every
activity of the despatch operation needs to be carried out in a way that ensures better profitability
through better use of resources. Careful planning of activities followed by waste reduction can
have significant impact on the time within which the trucks are loaded.

This study focuses on the naked glass despatch activities which need to be concentrated
because of complexities that could possibly provide faster and effective delivery. First, the
existing method of the loading activity is studied and the bottlenecks in the activity are
identified. This is followed by a detailed analysis using various lean tools and providing
suggestions as solutions to the existing bottlenecks. Improvements and changes required in the
activities are recommended. This could result in a decrease in the value of actual time for
despatch and is made to maintain the takt time.

Design /Methodology/Approach:

Statement of the Problem:

Presently, the number of trucks loaded in naked glass despatch is about 2 - 3 trucks per
bay per shift. But the target set is about 5 trucks per bay per shift. Hence, there is a gap in the
despatch output. This could bring about a lag in the delivery of products to the customers and
creates a blockade in the smooth flow of the process.

To increase the output at the despatch section for loading the flat-glass from 2 - 3 trucks
per bay per shift to 5 trucks per bay per shift.

From the study made in the premises of the organization the following issues have been

1. The total number of trucks loaded per day is 2.3 (on an average). From the total working
hours of 8 hrs per shift, in that the employees are engaged for only 6 hrs 57 min. The
remaining time is idle.

2. At the loading bay, the workers who are associated with the loading activity are not
provided with the required tools and accessories at their work place. They have to receive
the required tools and accessories from the stores for each order. This constitutes to the
major movements that are creating interventions in the process.

3. The inventory status is not properly updated i.e., when a glass crate block is taken from
the warehouse to be loaded onto the truck, the crates which are stored before the required
crate will be relocated to some other location. This new location of the crate should be
recorded, but it is not happening so. Though this may not create any issue presently, in
due course when a new order is generated and a sale order is prepared there will be a
contradiction between the actual location of the crate and the location shown in the

4. When a crate is handled it will be handled in blocks (5 crates) even if the actual
requirement is less than the block limit. The crates which are retrieved from the
warehouse will be loaded onto the pre-stage rack before loading onto the truck. The truck
will be loaded with the crates as per the sale order. The crates which remain after loading
the truck will be left on the pre-stage without being relocated to the warehouse. This not
only distorts the inventory status it does no provide room for the crates which are to be
loaded for the next order. This is one of the major bottlenecks in the system.

1. The loading pattern of the crates can be altered as illustrated below to reduce the space
occupied by the crates which are not required for that particular order at the pre-stage racks.

2. The activities of the warehouse can be adjusted to meet the demands raised by the despatch
section by implementing the recommended material handling techniques to improve the process.
The recommendation has been made using the value-stream mapping.

This study is limited to the despatch process of naked glass.

This study is confined to Saint Gobain Glass India, Sriperumpudhur.
This study doesnt include the activities of Transport Department and Customer Service


The above mentioned suggestions can have some incremental improvements in the
productivity of flat glass despatch. The interpretations made from the analysis can provide a clear
picture of the present state and possible improvements to be made to reduce the actual time
through reduction of intervention time by 52.72 %. This could lead to synchronization of actual
time and takt time that is calculated to be 90 minutes for loading a truck in a bay. Such
recommendations could pave way for achieving the target of despatch output of 5 trucks per bay
per shift.


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