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MIE.47 – Continuous Improvement Initiative at Albertsons-Jewel Osco

Team Members Heading link

  • Brandon Arias
  • Austin Borst
  • Marco Echevarria
  • Angel Thomas

Project Description Heading link

Albertsons-Jewel Osco is a national grocery store chain with warehouses all over the country. Several Albertsons locations in the U.S. utilize an autonomous system known as Symbotic, which performs all of the functions required to get pallets from receiving to storage to being shipped out. The sponsor, Albertsons Companies utilizes a Symbotic system in their Melrose Park warehouse where over fifty percent of their dry goods inventory is processed through the system. While the system is completely autonomous, it still requires the oversight of operators and engineers. This provides an opportunity to analyze processes and workflows.

The first goal of the Continuous Improvement initiative is to create a process map that outlines all of the steps of the Symbotic process and our analyses of the process. In this way, stakeholders can meaningfully consider the bottlenecks in the process and address them with their Symbotic engineers. Currently, there is no dashboard to assess the output of the Symbotic system. Dashboards are essential in manufacturing settings for transparency and productivity. The second component of the Continuous Improvement initiative is creating a KPI Dashboard. This is a dashboard to display data related to the output of the automation system.

Lastly, the team will be using 5S methodology to assess the Symbotic system and suggest improvements. 5S is a system for organizing spaces in order for work to be performed efficiently and safely. It is also a preventative measure for worker safety. 5S originates from 5 Japanese words – seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. This translates to sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain. Each S represents a tenet of this philosophy that can help businesses optimize their physical spaces. 5S methodology should eventually lead to reduced costs, higher quality, increased productivity, greater employee satisfaction, and a safe work environment. The first step of the 5S methodology is Sort. We will go through all of the elements in a given subsystem and determine the utility of each element. The next step of the 5S Methodology is set in order. In this step, we analyze the subsystem and determine the most practical arrangement of elements based on workflow. The next step is shine, which involves cleaning up the work area. Upon interviewing factory engineers, we determined that Albertsons currently has no housekeeping program. In this step of the process, we would prescribe implementing a housekeeping system. The next step of the 5S methodology is standardization; in this 5S proposal, standardization involves systematizing tasks and schedules. The last step of 5S is sustain. This refers to keeping the 5S initiatives running smoothly. The team intends to provide meaningful options for the Albertsons management team members to review and implement that will lead to a more effective Symbotic system.