Vertical Start Up of New Plant


Unique Q Ultima Process Stabilization Methodology enables commissioning in record time through vertical start ups at minimized scrap & losses – Case Study of a Glass Plant and a Synthetic Fibre Plant.

The Glass Plant Case

The glass plant commissions in record time post erection (Vertical Start Up), giving least start up scrap (Near zero wastage start up) and with benchmarked manpower productivity (High skilled people or deskilled jobs).


The client was building a new plant. Team had previous experiences of taking several months to commission similar number of machines erected. Each machine used to take similar time for commissioning and needed at least 3 – 4 weeks to give acceptable products and therefore even with parallel work full plant operation in one year was appreciated.

New pant head from different industry could not understand this long time (GOOD for Company as well as industry); while was quite acceptable to experts. He called several experts and ultimately chose “Q Ultima Team” for following agenda

  1. Machine Set up perfection for first right product
  2. Machine Operation perfection for each product of the best quality
  3. Machine changeover perfection for every new product to be right
  4. Irrelevance of Inspection Gates with Zero Customer Complaints

The Methodology

The methodology proposed by the Q Ultima Team was very simple and therefore appealed to the Plant Head and entire team of experts. It included

  1. Process Characterization – Identifying each process step (in fact, micro step), listing expected outcomes from them and detailing characteristics of each outcome. This was followed by understanding all resources (6Ms) used to conduct the process step and what properties of theirs can help achieve the best levels of outcome characteristics.
  2. Critical Characteristic Identification – Use FMEA to identify what characteristics of resources are critical for consistent outcomes.
  3. Identification of Controls – Based on criticality decide what type of controls will be most appropriate on given resource and its characteristics. The identification of correct control is key to whole exercise and therefore we spent lot of time in this. Challenging the status quo to achieve higher level of performance and stability was most important aspect of this step.
  4. Visual Management – Excellence Visual Displays and controls were developed to enable easy deployment of controls on the shop floor.
  5. The Responsibility Matrix – For each control, the job positions were identified. These job positions were considered responsible to execute the controls identified in step 3. This helped in identifying exact job roles, their definitions and kind of skills needed. This was another challenge as in traditional plants some of the roles were not assigned to operators (or to anybody).
  6. The Skill Management – For each of the job positions, the young recruits were trained and asked to perform in existing plant. Here he challenge of traditional type of work done needs to be ironed out. Each position had a knowledge, skill and performance criteria, which was condition for confirming the operating team member. We handhold the training & certification of first set of team members and in process trained team of engineers to take it forward.
  7. The Layered Audit System – The theme was supervision with purpose to ensure continuity of application of controls and their upgradation with learning. Various checks and controls were divided among various levels from shift-in-charge to Plant head himself. The systematic and periodic audit by them enabled organization with controls and also initiated continual improvement journey.<IMAGE>
  8. Review Mechanism – System to review the performance on regular basis to find out improvement opportunities and link them to Six Sigma improvement program. The richness of relevant data coming out of the systems developed enabled the reviews and actions.

The Learning

This methodology has its roots in automotive, but we have helped many companies in various sectors including Optical Fibre, Chemical, Pharma, FMCG, Foods & Beverages.

Learning 1 – Do Right First Time – In zest of bringing product from new plant we miss critical elements of people and processes and end up with a commissioned plant producing less than 30% of capacity at 50% quality levels. This can be dramatically changed by putting some resources upfront.

Learning 2 – Good Processes develop Excellent People – The level of skills and competency that could be driven using this methodology was unprecedented. We give full credit to expert team of our client who could take out time during busy project schedules.

Learning 3 – Establish well to initial excellence journey – This methodology not only ensures faster commissioning but substantially improves product quality and almost eliminates customer complaints. The processes started developing as there were minimal fire fighting issues.