20 September 2011
BASF targets world class asset performance
Chemical manufacturer BASF is driving its asset utilisation towards world class to increase capacity and, in turn, boost productivity and profitability at its Antwerp site (pictured).
With the help of UK consultancy Reliable Manufacturing, BASF is focusing on operational excellence projects to drive up its OEE measure at the site, the group's second largest worldwide.
When asset utilisation was introduced as a key performance indicator for the global organisation, BASF's Antwerp site spotted the potential for capacity gains through improved OEE.
Herman Baets, technical governance manager, said: "We have always operated at a very high level technically and instinctively we look for a technical solution to problems. Despite this our asset reliability and asset utilisation were still only 'better than average', and we wanted world class.
"We recognised the solution lay in changing our behaviours and procedures and that is Reliable Manufacturing's area of expertise."
The project kicked off earlier this year with a series of workshops focused on transforming leadership and culture. Senior executives are now targeted on plant performance and asset utilisation. The site has already started to see results from early process improvements – with one cooling unit, for example, losses have been reduced by 50% with the introduction of a few simple measures.
BASF Antwerp is aiming to cut losses and optimise plant shutdowns by the end of 2012. This will result in considerable savings, said Baets, though he acknowledged the effort required: "We are talking about major culture change in a very large operation, which is already very successful, and it will probably take two years to deliver kinetic effect. But our president is 100% on board and that is vital," he added.
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