Rafael Villa is a chemical engineer working as a Research and Development leader in the home care division of a company in Peru. His company that manufactures a vast range of consumer package goods and B2B products ranging from food items, such as cereal and candies, to cleaning supplies and home good items. Focusing on the design, formulation and optimization of consumer products, his R&D career has spanned multiple continents. Whether in Latin America, North America or Europe, his designs have saved millions of dollars while maintaining top-quality products.
Here are a few key insights he discovered optimizing product formulations in the detergent industry with Minitab.
1. Reduce costs while maintaining quality AND advocate for the tools you need to do it.
Several of Rafael's previous employers used Minitab. This gave him ample opportunity to figure out how to define experiments and variables to optimize detergent formulas most effectively. It didn't take long for the results to pour in.
But Rafael's transition to his new employers created a new challenge. They didn't use Minitab. It had become an essential part of Rafael's workflow, but his boss challenged him to prove results before considering the investment:
“So I took a current (product) formulation, selected the ingredients that were impacting costs and downloaded the free version of Minitab. For this mission I needed to find the proportions of ingredients that gave me the desired output values [while] minimizing the cost.”
With such a large volume of products produced, the slightest modifications of formulas can save companies millions. Rafael's one-month free trial helped him optimize two formulations and save up to $500,000 annually – more than enough proof to convince his new company to embrace Minitab.
2. Effective Methods Span Companies and Continents
An avid traveler, Rafael is quick to embrace employment opportunities worldwide. He spent years gaining invaluable experience formulating home care products for Colgate Palmolive in Mexico and Quala in Colombia, with stints in Colgate Palmolive Belgium and Clariant Mexico. Now he's back in Peru.
Rafael's R&D successes with Minitab reveal that effective methods have universal appeal. Whether he was in Latin America or Europe, he has been able to successfully save his employers millions while optimizing consumer satisfaction:
“Shortly after arriving in Colombia I realized that although they had Minitab they were not taking enough advantage of it… I tried to change that and introduced my team to DOEs and Minitab and applied dozens of designs and helped saved millions of dollars.”
3. Graphs are your friend: Use Data to Improve Communication with the Whole Team
R&D experts like Rafael live and breathe data. But they also understand that, without formal training, other key decision-makers and executives might struggle to grasp its full potential.
Minitab helped Rafael generate contour plots to illustrate how different detergent components would interact (you can see an example of how to put together a contour plot in Minitab Help). These graphs he generated helped R&D break down communication barriers that were difficult to navigate:
“After the optimization and thanks to the graphs we also showed behaviors and interactions of components that otherwise would be difficult to explain to marketing.”
The benefits span beyond the data experts. They foster fruitful communication among your organization at large.