2011 Processor of the Year H.J. Heinz Co.: A Global Standard for Local Performance

Heinz Global Performance System defines quality, teamwork and management best practices for 81 plants worldwide.

By Bob Sperber, Plant Operations Editor

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On environmental sustainability, the company continues to improve its results based on 2005 benchmarks. Global results, released in mid-November, showed the company is on track to achieve or surpass corporate goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, solid landfill waste, energy consumption and water consumption by at least 20 percent each by fiscal year 2015.

Compared to that baseline, plants across the global manufacturing organization have achieved:

  • 45.6% reduction in solid waste per 100 metric tons of production
  • 21.8% reduction in water consumption per metric ton of production
  • 13.2% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions per metric ton of production
  • 15.1% decrease in energy consumption per metric ton of production.

"Other sustainability efforts at Heinz, globally and in the U.S., focus on reducing packaging, cutting carbon emissions from agriculture, lowering fuel consumption related to transportation and increasing the use of renewable energy," says Poland.

Information systems in the pipeline
Heinz's continued success depends on its ability to execute on plans for product innovation, cost-cutting, supply chain efficiency, process and system upgrades and information technology systems. The last is both an area of ongoing improvement and an over-arching factor that can enhance all of the above.

"We are in the process of converting our ERP [enterprise resource planning] systems over to SAP," Shannan says. The move to upgrade and standardize globally on SAP business software has been in the works about a year, he says. North American factory implementations are scheduled to begin in mid-2012 and will continue for the better part of three years.

This change, like so many, won't come easy, and "probably represents the biggest change-management project we have ever undertaken," he says. The initiative, dubbed Project Keystone, already has begun with implementations, most recently in Northern Europe, which has begun to standardize documentation and reporting for greater corporate visibility and control.

As accounting, manufacturing and supply-chain planning systems cascade from headquarters to each plant, he adds, "every employee will have to adjust the way they do their job." For example, many plants currently use some paper-based quality record-keeping, while others use automated systems. Under SAP, both of these practices will change and in some cases be eliminated to create "one integrated system that ties to the rest of our systems," Shannan explains.

"That way, if something's out of spec, we can immediately eliminate lag-time and human error to more effectively take corrective action."

Going forward, plant automation is another area where greater integration and visibility of plant data "represents one of our biggest areas of opportunity," Shannan says. While sensors, machine controls and operator and supervisory software systems necessarily vary from process to process, standardizing automation vendors and platforms someday may help connect more dots from plants to Heinz's global business systems.

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