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Effectiveness of Defect Eliminators


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#1 Wowie

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 06:14 PM

I feel like i'm going crazy in a new work environment, and it's really making me feel defeated in my position for the first time in my career. I've been dealing with this for over two months now, and I'm at my wit's end. Perhaps I'm being the so-called crazed "quality nazi" (not a bad thing, eh?) and need to be reined in. So, I've decided to turn to you guys for help.

 

We're a grinding process. That's all we do. Receive in trim. Grind. Ship. We've been struggling with Foreign material opportunities for a while now. Soft plastic from raw material, soft plastic from rework, hard plastic from who knows where, hard plastic from PPE, but not much metal (of course, because we have detection systems in place for metal, so why would the stars align for me on that?). 

 

Here's the thing - We do have a defect eliminator (Weiler) that pulls out most dense foreign bodies. With my history with this brand, I do not feel confident these pieces of equipment remove 100% of denser foreign objects, depending on size, and I also do not feel confident in its ability to remove all soft plastic contamination. That is not to say I don't think they are very effective, I absolutely do, I just don't put 100% of my faith in them. I prefer to look at product coming out of the defect eliminator as an indicator of potential contamination. 

 

Having said that, I've been really confused lately. Any time plastic is observed in the defect eliminator, there is literally a shrug of the shoulders from operations and "The equipment is doing what it's supposed to." There is no breaking down of the equipment, no observing product from the blender, the finishing grinders, or on belts, no real investigation expected to determine the source.

 

When I am miraculously notified that plastic is exiting the defect eliminator, I ask them to stop the process until we can complete an investigation into the source, determine the potential for finished product or WIP contamination, and inspect equipment prior to the step where the foreign object was identified. I kind of feel like this is normal stuff. 

 

Everyone here disagrees. Not only do they disagree, they just keep running! I'm throwing away more product from "We just didn't think we'd find anymore and kept running" than I am from what I actually think is the most affected product, and absolutely more than we would have if we would have STOPPED, come together, and come to an agreement as a team. I'm working on a foreign material procedure, updated from the one my predecessor created, and, I'll be honest, I'm being kind of a hard you-know-what in it, because I know they are going to argue with how strict it is and this will give me a little wiggle room, kind of like when buying a car. I'm over-selling to win negotiations.  

 

For those with experience with defect eliminators/bone eliminators/beehive grinders, am I going overboard? 



#2 Watanka

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 10:34 PM

Wowie,

 

Don't think you are going overboard in wanting a system that meets the needs you described.  We do beverages so I cannot speak to the grinding and etc, but most of us have probably run into similar attitudes and the meet the production number mentality.

 

Suggest you start with senior management to obtain their endorsement and commitment to the policies and procedures you need carried out.  Bring that commitment to the various department and operations managers and stand firm.  For example, we have a glass breakage policy and procedure that requires the line to shut down, glass removed and sorted, line cleaned and inspected by QC staff prior to restarting.  If that does not happen HR activity occurs.  We have operations managers fully in line with this protocol and if they try to simply keep on running they get to explain that idea to senior management. 

 

Hitting production numbers is meaningless if the product lacks quality or is unsafe.  Let senior management fight that battle for you.



#3 Tony-C

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Posted 21 September 2016 - 04:16 AM

Hi Wowie,

 

I can sympathize with your situation. It can be demoralizing if you aren't getting the support to 'do the right thing'.

 

I would start building a library of the findings which will build evidence to support your case and assist in investigating the source.

 

Is this something that can be removed by a sieve?

 

Kind regards,

 

Tony 



#4 Wowie

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Posted 21 September 2016 - 01:00 PM

Wowie,

 

Don't think you are going overboard in wanting a system that meets the needs you described.  We do beverages so I cannot speak to the grinding and etc, but most of us have probably run into similar attitudes and the meet the production number mentality.

 

Suggest you start with senior management to obtain their endorsement and commitment to the policies and procedures you need carried out.  Bring that commitment to the various department and operations managers and stand firm.  For example, we have a glass breakage policy and procedure that requires the line to shut down, glass removed and sorted, line cleaned and inspected by QC staff prior to restarting.  If that does not happen HR activity occurs.  We have operations managers fully in line with this protocol and if they try to simply keep on running they get to explain that idea to senior management. 

 

Hitting production numbers is meaningless if the product lacks quality or is unsafe.  Let senior management fight that battle for you.

 

There are times when C-level managers are involved in these conversations. That makes it even more frustrating. Having a a partner in the company (medium-sized private company) say "Soft plastic is probably in our process everyday, so I'm not concerned about that." and the famous "I'd eat it and not care" line is completely exhausting. I am waiting on the President to return to the office this week so I can bring my concerns to him, but that's my last ditch effort to get the team on board, which is pretty sad. 

 

Your stop-and-evaluate on broken glass is exactly what is already in the policy I'm beefing up. It's also what I am used to from my previous company, and what I thought was the industry standard, but they look at me like I have five heads when I mention it. I know pounds out the back door is what they focus on, but I have literally only read about this flagrant disregard from people complaining on these forums - I've never thought I'd work with people like this!



#5 Wowie

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Posted 21 September 2016 - 01:02 PM

*Not C-level, Upper management. 



#6 Wowie

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Posted 21 September 2016 - 01:06 PM

Hi Wowie,

 

I can sympathize with your situation. It can be demoralizing if you aren't getting the support to 'do the right thing'.

 

I would start building a library of the findings which will build evidence to support your case and assist in investigating the source.

 

Is this something that can be removed by a sieve?

 

Kind regards,

 

Tony 

 

 

I don't think we could use a sieve in the process, but I'll look into that. Our primary customer has a very tight spec when it comes to texture of the finished product. There may be one that would work for us. Thanks for that suggestion.

 

I plan to have a meeting for discussion today or tomorrow, and do intend to bring all the pieces from the past two months, as well as some of the very recent recalls associated with foreign material (the meat industry recently had one triggered by a single consumer complaint being reported to FSIS). 



#7 Tony-C

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 12:26 PM

I don't think we could use a sieve in the process, but I'll look into that. Our primary customer has a very tight spec when it comes to texture of the finished product. There may be one that would work for us. Thanks for that suggestion.

 

I plan to have a meeting for discussion today or tomorrow, and do intend to bring all the pieces from the past two months, as well as some of the very recent recalls associated with foreign material (the meat industry recently had one triggered by a single consumer complaint being reported to FSIS). 

 

Good stuff Wowie, Illegitimi non carborundum.

 

Kind regards,

 

Tony



#8 Ryan M.

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 11:59 PM

Wow...that's brutal, really.  When senior management has the same mentality it is not a good thing.  If you do get past this with success you will only find yourself going up another uphill battle for what really should be standard.

 

To be honest, I don't know if I would have the stones for it.  I would be looking for other work at this point.  You shouldn't have to fight this hard for simple things really.  They likely waste more time, energy, and resources in fighting what you are asking for than just doing it.

 

Best of luck to you and hope it does work out!  But, don't be blinded by the light if this issue does actually work out for you because you will stumble across this again in the future with something else.






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