Case Study

On track in revenue and sustainability

Consistent implementation of the zero-loss philosophy with WCOM™ at a market leader in the packaging industry

One of the world's largest packaging groups wants to further reduce complaints, waste, productivity losses and processing costs at its production sites. To achieve its goals, the company introduced a comprehensive WCOM™ (World Class Operations Management) program with ROI-EFESO in 24 plants around the world and trained its employees accordingly.

Over a period of eight years, the packaging manufacturer continued to develop its operations processes with ROI-EFESO. It achieved exceptional results in loss elimination and prevention – and qualified thousands of employees in terms of continuous improvements.


A global market leader in the packaging industry is strengthening its competitiveness against new market players. In line with the “zero-loss” philosophy, the group is focusing on economically and ecologically profitable business practices.


ROI-EFESO solution approach

The company followed ROI-EFESO's WCOM™ approach to improve the detection, elimination, and prevention of losses in 24 plants. At the same time, it empowered thousands of employees to pursue and realize Operational Excellence (OPEX).


Lessons learned

The operationalization of strategic goals requires clear processes and a precise understanding of where the greatest potential for zero-loss lies. Employee qualification is an indispensable, supporting “pillar” for WCOM™ / OPEX projects.


ROI-EFESO success model

Team leaders and other employees from the plants are working together with ROI-EFESO’s experts in improvement teams to optimally combine methodology and practical expertise from the outset. This enables the plant teams to develop independently.


Realignment of production and other operations areas

Founded in the 1950s and run as a family business for many years, the company has developed into the market leader in carton beverage packaging. It sets industry standards with its packaging designs and has generated double-digit billion-euro sales with almost 200 billion units of packaging sold (per year).

The collaboration with ROI-EFESO began several years ago and contributed significantly to this success story. Already very well positioned in the market with innovative products, the management at the time focused the company on bringing production and operational management to a first-class performance level at all locations – and then continuing this in the spirit of continuous improvement. This was to strengthen competitiveness against new players in the market. At the same time, the owner family attached great importance to operating responsibly and creating a “win-win-win-situation” in which the company, its customers, and the planet benefit.

Focus on world-class level at “Zero-loss”

From the outset, the company set itself a clear objective: to implement a zero-loss philosophy within the organization. The “TPM Award” of the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance (JIPM) was then the milestone to confirm, that the company was on the right track with clear improvements. To this end, the management encouraged all areas of operations to participate and work together to achieve a world-class level of “zero-loss”.

The packaging manufacturer wanted to follow this path together with ROI-EFESO. After all, the management consultancy had already proven in comparable projects that its WCOM™ approach delivers the desired results. Over time, the company trained thousands of employees via WCOM™ teams to discover and implement starting points for continuous improvement in daily work processes. WCOM™ thus established itself as an elementary component of the organizational culture and is still being successfully developed by the corporate group worldwide today.

The TPM Award is intended to serve as a “proof of concept” for the results achieved.

Combination of zero-loss and OPEX (Operational Excellence)

The project team was made up of WCOM™ managers and ROI-EFESO consultants. To achieve the project goals at the then 24 locations worldwide, it followed the WCOM™ approach for factories developed by ROI-EFESO. This focuses on:

  • Zero-loss principle: The approach is based on the zero-loss principle and encompasses the dimensions of loss detection, loss elimination and loss prevention. The project started with a loss analysis at all sites, which quickly revealed the most problematic points in the production lines. These points were summarized in a master plan, prioritized, and provided with measures to reduce or completely avoid losses.
  • Enabling OPEX: At the same time, the project team set up a corresponding OPEX system step by step and in cooperation with all key operational levels. This was not limited to a technology-supported further development of the processes and IT / OT systems. Equally important was the empowerment of employees to use these processes and systems on a day-to-day basis. This enabled them to stabilize their own processes, reduce losses and independently drive continuous improvement in the long term.

With WCOM™, the group increased productivity in 24 plants by 30% and halved their waste volume.

Cross-functional improvement teams

A special feature of the approach: solutions to achieve “zero-loss” are developed on two levels. Firstly, directly on site in the teams at the machine/system. These teams are usually led by the operators – after all, it's about their working environment and how they can make their work easier, more stable and more efficient. This perspective is - on the other hand - extended by “improvement teams”, which are made up of representatives from several areas such as operations, maintenance, procurement, or HR.

This approach strengthens the team spirit within the entire corporate culture through jointly achieved results. In addition, the abstract topic of “continuous improvement” comes to life with success stories – at the lines as well as at many other points in the organization. In this case, the improvement teams were already able to achieve clear results on the way to “zero-loss” within three months. Over the entire duration of the project and across the plants, the company achieved these results, among others:

  • Claims reduced by 50 %
  • Waste reduced by 50 %
  • Productivity increased by 30 %
  • Converting costs reduced by 37 %

It also far exceeded its original minimum target: not just one, but several TPM awards for the entire plant network - verified and given by JIPM - confirmed the results and pioneering work processes at all levels of production, maintenance, quality, and skill development of employees. The company still benefits from this today, in these areas among others:

  • The effects of the program improved productivity so much that the market positioning changed from “defender of market share” to active market leader.
  • Better capacity utilization led to savings in the millions in capital goods and an increase in market share.
  • The program was fully digitalized and extended to suppliers and customers to improve the performance of the entire value chain.


The improvement teams are still the key “driver” for implementing continuous improvement in the group today. Their success here was based, among other things, on the realization of these guidelines:

Encourage and challenge the team spirit.

One site developed a procedure for the “horizontal expansion” of loss elimination from one line to other lines. This approach could not be easily transferred to all other plants. Nevertheless, this success greatly motivated the team to continue the path they had taken daily – and to make the work process more stable with every loss that was rectified. Anyone who has experienced this a few times is motivated to get actively involved in improvement teams again.

Experimenting with simple, efficient solutions.

In another plant, the team identified losses on the printing machines that give the packaging its appearance. To reduce the time needed for machine cleaning, the employees developed clever solutions, such as refilling the machine with ink or avoiding paper waste during print nozzle tests. This “fiddling around” with their own solutions also proves to be productive in other WCOM™ projects. Employees, who are directly involved in the work steps, have a pragmatic view of such weak points – and usually have very good ideas for remedying them. The costs for this are normally low, but the changes make a big difference in day-to-day work and naturally add up on the way to the zero-loss target.

Visualize processes.

Another example, that could easily be transferred to all plants, is the visualization of inspection points in production. Schematic footprints on the hall floor show the routes and stations for inspections in different colors, e.g., blue for “quality” and red for “safety”. This shortens inspection times and makes them more efficient without compromising the quality of the inspection. A plant in Italy developed this approach further into a digital Poka-system. Minor deviations discovered during the inspection or during work could be entered directly into the Poka-system and followed up with measures to eliminate the losses.


Of course, this is only a very small selection of the numerous ideas and measures that have been implemented over time. The immense value that has been and continues to be generated is illustrated by the number of employees in the improvement teams: during the collaboration with ROI-EFESO, the packaging manufacturer trained thousands of employees in WCOM™ / OPEX.

From strategy to practice

In this project, the following aspects, among others, proved to be particularly important for achieving the goals set by the company:

Anchor strategic goals in day-to-day business!

One of the biggest challenges in the project was to break down the overarching objectives from the “big picture” of the strategy to the level of specific activities on the shop floor / line. An important lesson learned here was, that daily management is not the only starting point here, e.g., in shift reviews or regular meetings. It is equally important to consistently record the “gaps” in a results plan: which areas hold potential to avoid losses – but have not yet been tackled?

The packaging manufacturer achieved process control in its plants. This enabled him to clearly identify the pain points of losses and realistically classify the resources required to close these gaps. This proved to be the 'common thread' for management to understand what was needed to achieve the strategic goal – and at the same time what needed to be communicated to the teams to lead and motivate them.

Make education a guarantee of success!

The main “pillar” of the WCOM™ / OPEX project turned out to be the qualification and empowerment of the workforce to independently follow up on what they had learned. This was achieved through a training / qualification approach based on the train-the-trainer concept. Based on the knowledge, an in-house academy and in-house consultancy were also set up. As a result, the company knows exactly the processes, standards, and levels of qualification in the organization and can therefore also deploy its resources in this area in a targeted and productive manner.

Emphasize the importance of the topic!

Even in the first days and weeks of the project, the group's top management clearly signaled to employees how important WCOM™ / OPEX would be from now on. The C-level decision-makers were involved in audits carried out by improvement teams, for example. They regularly visited plants to learn and share best practices and ideas – not only with management, but also with line employees. This commitment made a decisive contribution to launching the project with a great deal of passion and putting it on the road to success.

Methodological and practical expertise are combined right from the start of the project.

Empowerment in “tandem” with WCOM™ experts

Consulting projects on efficiency and loss reduction are often one-sided: external consultants are hired to carry out a loss analysis and then manage the implementation of improvements. The main outcome is documentation of results. One of the reasons, why WCOM™ / OPEX projects with ROI-EFESO are extraordinary successful, is that they break up and expand this system. For example, the company's employees should confirm the loss analysis. This requires a direct, intensive exchange with all stakeholders such as plant operators, fitters and maintenance staff. From the outset, this sensitizes employees to the topic – not in theory, but at their workplace.

This approach also brings “pain points”, i.e., sensitive issues, to light. These are often known but are not communicated or consistently followed up – and do not appear in loss analyses. In this project, too, the company identified such pain points in the initial phase and developed solutions. The structure for implementation was created by the mentioned improvement teams with a team constellation proven in numerous WCOM™ / OPEX projects. Together with the methodology experts from ROI-EFESO, team leaders and employees from the plants form this improvement teams, e.g. for production, maintenance and logistics. Methodology and practical expertise are thus combined right from the start.

Consultants with regional experience

In this type of cooperation, enabling the improvement teams to develop independently of the consultant has proven to be a successful model. The consultant's role changes according to the needs and maturity of the program in the organization. As with a tandem ride, the consultant is initially required to act more as a steering process expert, for example, but may be able to hand over this role to the team leader after a short time. So, the consultant switches to the role of coach or auditor, who rejoins the improvement team as required.

In this case, ROI-EFESO's global presence also proved to be the key to success: the packaging manufacturer succeeded in establishing WCOM™ / OPEX in parallel in the plants despite the different languages and (management) cultures. This only works in this form with a team of consultants who have a close regional connection and know the local challenges inside out. The success story continues today: after many years, the system now even serves as an operations management system for the company.