The Challenge

Encorp Pacific  (Canada) is a not-for-profit, federal incorporated organization whose core business is beverage container management in British Columbia.  The organization’s mandate is to ensure that used packaging and end-of-life products are properly recycled and not land-filled or incinerated.  Encorp operates Return-It depots across 5 areas in BC with multiple depots across the Lower Mainland.

Encorp identified an opportunity to review its material sorting process with the goal of establishing processes which are effective and scalable.  Encorp identified that there may be opportunities to simplify the current 21 sort process managed by the depots to move towards a simplified 6 material sorts with the aim of reducing complexity in the process for their customers as well as increasing staff productivity.  Encorp engaged Propel Solutions to conduct time and motion studies on a Pilot Group of 3 depots to determine the impacts of the improved sort.

The Objective

Propel Solutions conducted a five-week analysis of the before and after of the pilot group of Depots.  The purpose of the analysis was to conduct a before and after assessment of Return-It’s current beverage container sorting practices to identify the impact of the simplified sorting process. Propel delivered the following:

  • Conducted time and motion studies at three Return-It Depots to measure the results of the Simplified Sort process. This included a complete review of the value added and non-value added activities within each of the depots.
  • Identified further opportunities to refine the implementation of the simplified sorting process. This included a full analysis of the 10 causes of lost time for each of the depots. Additionally, Identified additional opportunities to refine the process to develop a culture of Continuous Improvement to support the growth of Return-It.
  • Conducted a review of best practices at each of the depots. Identified additional opportunities to clarify roles and responsibilities to support the future scalability and deployment of the Simplified Sort to the remained Return-It Depots across BC.
  • Reviewed current sorting processes to determine the best methods of replicating current successes to support the review of future handling fees. Provided additional recommendation to ensure sorting processes support the organizational goals of exceeding customer expectations and maintaining Encorp’s reputation as a valuable partner for Depot Operators.
  • Presented the findings of the analysis of the simplified sorting pilot to the Depot’s to generate support to move to the new material handling process. This started the change management process for the depots to support the implementation.

The Results

Through this five-week engagement, Propel conducted a thorough review of the pilot depots and identified that the new sorting practices would increase depot capacity by 23% through the implementation of the simplified sort.   Through the review Propel provided an analysis of the 10 types of lost time and quantified to demonstrate the opportunity for capacity improvement.  Additional opportunities were also identified to recapture the lost time which could be used during the roll out of the simplified sort.  Propel provide a roadmap for moving forward which was communicated to all depots to garner support for the new practices.