By anitabusatto
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  • 30 Jul

Saeco Logo

Saeco, historic pride of the made in Italy expresso

Production plan scheduling with Heijunka and creation of a specially made sequential in-Pull process: how to solve the case of Saeco Professional particularly sophisticated assembling

Last year N&W Global Vending S.p.A. completed the acquisition of Saeco Vending S.p.A. by transferring licenses for the use of the Saeco and Gaggia brands

“There's no such good morning without the scent of an expresso”.

It is no news that, worldwide, expresso speaks Italian. Made in Italy coffee machines undisputed rule within the traditional café, office and Ho.Re.Ca coffee machines segment and their manufacturers represent a real excellence of the Italian manufacturing.

Among these Saeco stands out, a company established in 1981 in Gaggio Montano, on the Bolognese Apennines, nowadays main player within the worldwide business for in and out of home coffee machines, in the consumer and professional channels. First in the world to have projected, back in 1985, the"bean-to-cup" automatic system, Saeco International Group S.p.A. was bought in July 2009 by the Philips Group. In 2017 the Vending & Professional division (with the brands Saeco and Gaggia), assuming the denomination SaGa Coffee Spa, entered in the Italian holding - and world giant within snack and beverages selling machines manufacturers - N&W Global Vending, later EVOCA Group.

Thanks to Mecspe 2016 trade fair, KanbanBOX is the tool adopted by Saeco for managing the electronic kanban and the scheduling with the Heijunka function of the assembling lines of the OCS professional machines range [Office Coffee Service, Ed.], carried out in the Bean-to-cup and Capsule models for offices and small and medium structures.

A case of a particularly complex process is the one of the OCS machines, solved by a number of customizations designed for the finished capacity sequencing of the in-line assembling production.

KanbanBOX allows the automotive components feeding of the two assembling lines dedicated to the production of about 120 machines per day each one and the synchronization of the warehouse with the manufacturing line. Five product families, about 70 machine variants and an average of 400 kanban labels managed per day.

OCS LINE is the coffee machine range for offices

With the help of Fabrizio Borgognoni, Saeco Gaggia Professional Logistic Manager, we have analyzed in deeper details how KanbanBOX intervenes.

Assembling line: Heijunka for production planning

The KanbanBOX Heijunka module for the in-line scheduling of the production plan allows the sequencing of pitches made up of 24 pieces and dedicated to each of the two lines.

KanbanBOX orders the pitches in a correct sequence on the 8-hour shift, indicating for each the starting and finishing production time, assuring in the dedicated board a real-time view of the progress state.

the two OCS LINE production lines in the Saeco plant

Automotive components feeding: the Sequential Pull

Considered the high number of parts that must be kept available in the components supermarket, the automotive material feeding of the OCS line has been designed in a sequential Pull mode, with the delivery of kits of components retrieved by kanban labels synchronized with every production pitch. This means that the process of automotive feeding by the supplier, in charge of the components kit preparation, the Warehouse, occurs only following a process order down the line, the Assembling. That is, the delivery of the in-line components is pulled by the effective production progress.

Forced choice both by the wide variety of components for each pitch, which is not possible to keep all the components in-line and by the fact that the automotive feeding process is located outline, with a relevant distance from the main flow. Another value of the system is to avoid accumulating material online in case of delays in the following production pitches!

The OCS LINE production is planned by the Heijunka system

Movement Kanban: the multiprocess kanban

An extra complication within the feeding process arises from the long material kit preparation time to be delivered in line. The kitting out phase, with the components withdrawal from the supermarket and the repacking in the proper boxes provided with kanban labels, exceeds 2,45 working hours for every single pitch. However, the sequential Pull requires a rather fast material kit preparation.

And that's why kanbans to be handled are prepared one day ahead of production, on the basis of the scheduling on the Heijunka board, in a frozen planning period context.

Milkrun workers and the mizusumashi

Through the so-called kanban multi-process, KanbanBOX explodes the kanban labels for each component to be delivered to line the following day, organizing the kitting out work and the warehouse worker repacking for the day.


The advantages of the whole system emerge in the inefficiency and production costs knocking down, specifically mentioning:

  • reduction of stock in the assembling line
  • decisive production qualitative improvement as the in-line error is eliminated, that is the wrong components assembling possibility
  • equipping time reduction, with a zero minutes changeover possibility (Quick Changeover/set up null)
  • the possibility of planning a very wide daily productive mix

Thanks to the digital revolution of a system, the lean one, that naturally is devoted to efficiency and to continuous improvement, KanbanBOX has allowed Saeco to overcome a manual modus operandi, costly in terms of time and with a high error margin, leading in short time the company to start considering about a third assembling line.

From a manual system to an electronic one with KanbanBOX

The KanbanBOX heijunka and kanban boards for production line planning

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