Optimal planning of butter production at Arla Foods

Samuel  Brøgger

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Optimal planning of butter production at Arla Foods

Arla’s Holstebro Dairy picked the Danish Technological Institute to help them strengthen the planning department and get a new IT system up and running and new employees trained up via Lean. After only three months the company started to see positive results in the form of more effective planning and improved production. Arla Foods’ Holstebro Dairy is northern Europe’s largest butter dairy. The company produces around 100,000 tons of Lurpak Butter and Kærgården for both the Danish and international markets. Production planning is complicated as the dairy has about 250 different item numbers.

- Production planning at our company is something of a jigsaw puzzle. Experience has taught us that we can improve communication between planning and production by using Lean principles, explains dairy manager Rene Fredgaard.

He adds that Lean thinking caught on immediately among the employees, who quickly got used to using the Lean board to solve acute problems.

- Lean thinking has inspired us to make improvements. Everyone was listened to and everyone’s skills utilised. We have also got a better understanding of each other’s jobs, says production planner Mette Winther Martens.

Arla Foods’ Holstebro Dairy rolled out Lean in the autumn in the whole production area with consultancy support from the Danish Technological Institute.

- We have started up our own Lean organisation and have now got production to a position where they can run themselves, says production manager Lene Frederiksen. She explains that all managers have been trained in implementing the Lean principles in close dialogue with employees.

- We found that the consultants from the Danish Technological Institute were very good at showing empathy and understanding exactly what we needed, says Rene Fredgaard.