Key to the project was an innovative Greenfield Competence Development Programme created by the Sidel Services™ business unit. The programme enabled the provision of training at each phase of the equipment installation, including in the period prior to equipment delivery, to ensure the start-up could meet the challenging timeframe of the project in what is a rapidly developing country.
The new facility, created specifically for the production of soft drinks, features a complete production line from Sidel, the leading global provider of PET solutions for liquid packaging. It includes a Sidel SBO20 blower, a Sidel Matrix™ filler SF 300 FM, a Sidel Matrix Combi and a Sidel Rollquattro Evolution labeller. That line is now capable of producing three different formats of carbonated drinks - 425ml, 500ml, and 1,250ml - at speeds of up to 45,000 bottles per hour (bph) for single-serve and 36,000 bph for multi-serve products.
Production was scheduled to target Myanmar's peak hot season during the months of March to June 2014, to begin a significant marketing campaign of the beverage products. To do so required an expansion of local production via an accelerated timeline for the project. Construction of the new production line was completed by Sidel within a very fast schedule of only 17 weeks. The company's delivery of the equipment to Myanmar was equally swift and faultless, taking only eight weeks. The new line was then commissioned and the first saleable bottle was validated at the beginning of March, 2014. As a result, the facility is now producing and distributing products in all formats.
Innovative approach to training to meet specific challenges
Myanmar is opening up to the world through structural reform and is a rapidly evolving country. Growth in Myanmar's gross domestic product (GDP) figure for the fiscal year 2014 is estimated at 7.7%. This expansion of the economy is expected to increase, with forecasts of 8.3% for 2015 and similar for 2016. This brings challenges in terms of developing the country's human resources to provide the skills necessary to sustain this growth. To achieve the technical capabilities required from the local workforce and given the short timescales involved in the project, Sidel and the facility owners determined to adopt a totally new approach which involved providing customised training programmes at different phases of the installation of equipment - starting even before the line was delivered. This radical approach was called a 'Greenfield Competence Development Audit' because, at the start and end of each training session, the technical skills and competences of each trainee is assessed by auditors. Consequently, the Sidel Services training team is then able to adapt the following programme to the level reached by the group as a whole.
Sidel's participation in the Myanmar training process began with the recruitment of employees for technical and operational roles, for which the company provided practical and theoretical questionnaires that proved invaluable in the search for suitable candidates. The first stage of training of those chosen, entitled 'Equipment Fundamentals' and undertaken long before the Sidel equipment was available on site, involved 24 Myanmar employees spending a month training in India. When this stage had been completed and operators had been given a basic knowledge and understanding of Sidel machinery, auditors from Sidel attended the training in order to evaluate the levels reached by the trainees. The following programme was called 'Advanced Operation and Advanced Training Maintenance' and was given at the site in Myanmar following commissioning of the line. The final phase of training - the 'Final Competence Audit' - took place after approximately five months of production. In all, 73 days of tuition were delivered by Sidel's trainers over the course of 12 months to ensure the required level of competence is met. During the sessions, Sidel trainers established a strong rapport with the trainees by building up an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding.
Sidel delivered a training solution that met the customer's different needs in project coordination, manufacturing and overall operation. The project demonstrated how the approach of Sidel's Greenfield Competence Development Audit can be customised to meet the individual demands of different beverage producers, with the audit being described as "…a benchmark in the industry". Assessing an operating team's skills with competence audits clearly reveals performance levels and any shortfalls in requirements. If a team is found lacking in any way, then further training and subsequent assessment sessions can be organised to ensure that every team is operating as proficiently as possible at all times.
Hari Purnomo, Regional Commercial Director for Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia at Sidel, comments - "This was a challenging project which required an innovative approach to training. It was the first complete Greenfield Competence Development Audit delivered by the Sidel training team. The customised training programmes developed for the different phases, with assessment of the resulting competences and technical skills at each stage, enabled a quick vertical start-up and sustainable production to be achieved."
Training can add value throughout a beverage production operation, from achieving a fast line start-up to faster detection of potential issues, minimising downtime, improved product quality, greater efficiencies and more.
The objective of Sidel's training programmes is to enable customers to become experts on their own production lines. Practical training is therefore key, with the potential to train on site in the customer's own production environment, at one of Sidel's seven dedicated Technical Training Centres located around the world or a combination of both.
Training is part of the Sidel Services™ portfolio, which also includes Maintenance, Line Improvement, Spare Parts & Logistics, Line Conversions & Moulds, and Packaging. Further information on training, including a copy of the new 2015 Sidel Technical Training Catalogue, is available at sidel.com/training.
 Asian Development Bank