Alto Albany (PACT) – Interview with Kenneth Tohovaka, Operations Manager, Extrusion

"Creating a culture of operational excellence"

Creating a culture of operational excellence
PACT Group

Kenneth explains how excellent team dynamics and culture help Alto leverage the most value out of AspectPL MES.

The power of the team

A theme that comes through consistently when talking with Kenneth Tohovaka is that team dynamics and culture are the most important ingredients in a successful manufacturing operation. A veteran AspectPL MES software user, Kenneth has worked at 2 PACT sites.

Previously Site Manufacturing Manager at Viscount, Kenneth used AspectPL to manage injection moulding and offset printing on thin and rigid walled food and industrial plastics.

After 13 years at Viscount, Kenneth is now the Operations Manager for extrusion at Alto Packaging in Albany. They run 6 thermo-forming machines and 2 extruders with a team of 13 in the extrusion department with more staff supporting the thermo-forming line. Foodstuffs and the Hilton Food Group in Australia are key customers.

Kenneth has seen AspectPL offer helpful communication and productivity tools for Viscount where AspectPL was well embedded (15 years) and at Alto where AspectPL has more recently been implemented.

“AspectPL is one of the most user-friendly software systems that I have used. It contributes to creating a culture of operational excellence within my team. It’s not overly technical for first time users which is a great benefit.”

Talking about teams

Kenneth says; “The most important thing is having an open-minded team who are willing to learn how they can utilize AspectPL to their advantage.”

The data AspectPL provides creates standard working practices and processes and this communication link allows teams to trouble shoot tricky situations. It’s another tool for manufacturing teams to use besides being heavily reliant on numbers.

“We use the comments report to relay messages to other shifts or to engineering. Our team starts their shift in a good position because they know what happened on the shift before them. For example, if a machine has broken down, these comments help teams to understand why and easily trouble shoot the problem.

Any system is only as good as the people that use it. Creating a culture of ownership and having a key person to drive AspectPL within the business helps. Organise regular training sessions and emphasise that improving performance is everyone’s responsibility.”

Communication is complex

Human communication is so complex, everyone has different styles and needs. AspectPL provides a centralized point so that all information can be stored and filtered. No need for emails – the information is all there in AspectPL, for everyone to see.

At Viscount, AspectPL was implemented from the top end of the business to dispatch – everyone could see OEE and any issues that were affecting it.

“Having visible standards is quite important for productivity. The visible monitoring screens allow team members to strive to meet operating standards. If standards are not being met the comments in AspectPL can help them achieve it.”

Other key AspectPL features

What other features do you regularly use in AspectPL?

“The labour resource management feature has enabled us to manage our staff against our plan.

I use the drill down features for OEE – the data and graphs are great and the scheduling board is amazing to help you coordinate everything for your team.

The AspectPL team customized a tile monitor screen for us at Viscount which we use every day. I really enjoy working with AspectPL and the support from the AspectPL team has been great.”

Advice for new users

As a long term AspectPL user we asked Kenneth to please give any advice for new users.

“Create a baseline of rapport with your team and a culture of ownership. That team dynamic will help your team get the best out of MES software.

Mentor, train and support your team and take the time to celebrate wins. Milestones can be easily set up in AspectPL.”

Bob Dedekind AspectPT’s Technical Director adds. “Kenneth is a super user. We value his expertise and enthusiasm for leveraging the most out of AspectPL and supporting his team to be their best.”