Redefining the Capacity Utilization Process

April 4, 2018

Matthew Bouvia, of Haslam's 2017 Professional MBA class, devoted his Organizational Action Project to aggregating capacity utilization measures at the Edgewell Personal Care Company, where he is a senior industrial engineer. 

CHALLENGE: Continual improvement requires real-time results. For manufacturers, having instant access to real-time production line and machine performance data is particularly important in optimizing capacity utilization, that is, the relationship between what is produced and what could be produced if capacity was fully used. Professional MBA (ProMBA) student Matthew Bouvia, a senior industrial engineer at Edgewell Personal Care Company, was part of a team tasked with aggregating capacity utilization measures. The company’s current process was laborious and yielded dated results. The team had brainstormed ways to improve the process, and being part of the ProMBA program gave Bouvia the time, support, and opportunity to address the issue while still working fulltime.

PROJECT: Bouvia’s Organizational Action Project focused on automating and standardizing data collection and analysis to improve capacity utilization.

PROCESS: Bouvia says while he knew that automating the process would be the best solution, the multidisciplinary Professional MBA program equipped him with the tools to make his idea a reality. “I come from an engineering background, so the combination of classes—strategy, accounting, leadership—all worked together to help me convince leadership to make a change.” The company’s traditional process relied on manual data collection, resulting in decisions being made using data that often was weeks or a month old. Bouvia proposed working smarter, not harder, by creating a better-informed data matrix. Basically, his plan involved replacing cumbersome processes with an automated system, which can take raw data and transform it into actionable data for making informed decisions. Laying the groundwork for the plan included tasks such as hardcore coding, designing user interfaces, and inputting data from Excel spreadsheets into a computer.

RESULTS: Before Bouvia even completed the ProMBA program his project was in the testing phase in multiple plants. Global expansion is set to begin following the pilot phase. For the company, the greatest benefit of reengineering the process has been timing. Being able to quickly analyze and understand plant utilization across the entire supply chain is critical in setting operational strategy, making short-term corrections, increasing sales, reducing inventory, and adapting manufacturing capabilities to meet long-term market requirements. For Bouvia, taking the lead on the capacity utilization process project and earning his MBA, he believes, have helped position him for success. “The project provided added value to the company and definitely increased my visibility,” he says. 

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To learn how the University of Tennessee Professional MBA program can help you achieve your goals, contact us at promba@utk.edu or +1 (865) 974-1660.