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Departments: Quality Applications

Rexam Beverage Cans Packed With Quality


Back to School: Teachers, Students Learn Quality

Rexam Beverage Cans Packed With Quality
Lighthouse Systems’ Shopfloor-Online

If you’re one of the millions of people around the globe who drink soft drinks each day, you’ve probably encountered the results of Rexam’s quality endeavors on more than one occasion. But because the quality of beverage cans is generally impeccable, consumers rarely consider the mess that would result in the absence of strict quality guidelines. Without stringent process controls and adherence to quality standards at Rexam’s plants, many consumers would ostensibly be switching to bottles.

As one of the world’s largest manufacturers of beverage cans, Rexam’s quality processes must be above reproach, lest industry giants like Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper begin to receive complaints about their products. In order to maintain and improve quality standards, Rexam sought to replace its existing quality monitoring system with a new program that could report on local plant operations as well as all 19 U.S. Rexam can plants.

Although Rexam already had a quality management system in place at each plant, the company was faced with a host of areas for improvement. At each plant, the history of data retention was limited. In addition, the company was unable to enforce its own standards for data collection and reporting. Finally, reporting and analyzing data across the plant was growing increasingly difficult to accomplish. Rexam decided that a new quality monitoring system would remedy the blemishes on its otherwise sound processes and chose to replace its system with the Shopfloor-Online solution from Lighthouse Systems Inc.

Rexam had an array of requirements for Lighthouse Systems. The new system needed to allow operators to take further control of their processes while quantifiably improving quality and satisfaction. In addition, the solution had to be practical; operators needed clear feedback, interpretable charts and alarms on the shop floor. Easy data entry was an imperative part of Rexam’s quality push, and the company required an interface with special gaging to this end. Finally, the solution had to integrate with Rexam’s ERP system to provide material traceability and reporting.

After Rexam selected Shopfloor-Online, it faced an extensive implementation project involving all 19 of its plants across the country. Jerry Allen of Rexam’s head office in Chicago was appointed project manager and immediately set out to coordinate the key quality and information technology advocates from each plant. Initial meetings paired Lighthouse consultants with Allen and his team, creating an environment in which Rexam’s goals and requirements would be understood and met. After receiving training from Lighthouse, Rexam’s operational managers were prepared to train the operators to use Shopfloor-Online. The table was set for success.

“Lighthouse served as a true business partner in working with us to implement a value-added solution that enables us to achieve even further levels of product quality and on-time product delivery to our customers,” says Allen.

With Shopfloor-Online ready for launch, Rexam operators were instructed on its use. In keeping with Rexam’s initial requirements, Shopfloor-Online collects quality and production data in one database yet makes it accessible across all 19 plants. All process information is updated in real time, allowing operators to act upon changes immediately. Graphical interactive screens enable operators to easily navigate line layouts. And after each set of data is collected, charts are automatically brought up for review. The Shopfloor-Online solution offers operators another opportunity to control their processes by linking supporting documents related to each check. With this feature, operators have an opportunity to review all supporting documents with the click of a button. Not surprising, operator efficiency has improved as a result of the concentrated availability of process information.

Shopfloor-Online’s implementation at Rexam has sparked a renewed commitment to quality reporting at the beverage can manufacturer’s plants, bolstering the company’s already strict dedication to overall quality. Because of the solution, Rexam is now able to dictate and carry out quality checks from the shop floor instead of the quality manager’s office. Furthermore, operators can take better control of their processes by way of real-time feedback. Shopfloor-Online has facilitated necessary process adjustments by increasing not only the amount of information available to Rexam operators but also the scope of that availability.

“The system has helped us raise the industry bar even further on the delivery of quality cans on time, every time,” remarks Al Barker, plant manager at Rexam’s branch in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Lighthouse Systems’ Shopfloor-Online


  • Ensures checks are performed
  • Reduces manufacturing cycle times, data entry and work in progress
  • Provides analysis tools to find improvement opportunities