Guidance towards enterprise excellence
Vandemoortele is undertaking a journey towards enterprise excellence and wanted to create and sustain a culture of continuous improvement to remain competitive in the market. By means of an assessment, the following challenges were defined for their Culinary Oils and Fats plant in Izegem:
- Introducing problem-solving techniques
- Optimizing the production organization
- Improving the performance cascade
- Implementing quality at the source
These challenges were then tackled together with an internal project team.
The assessment was done via observations, process walks, interviews, data collection and analysis.
Increasing problem-solving capacity of the shop floor
A first problem-solving technique that was introduced at Vandemoortele was the execution of Kaizen events. A Kaizen event is a fast, structured, concentrated and powerful improvement exercise with a specific goal. It typically lasts 3 to 5 days and tackles a complex or difficult problem. In that time a cross functional team is trained and coached to reach the goal. Later, a system for improvement proposals was set up to focus on smaller (from a team-perspective less complex) problems and enhance daily improvement capability. Finally, root causes analysis was implemented. This way of problem solving is ideal for problems that are maybe too big for the improvement proposal system, but not complex enough to do a structured Kaizen event yet and form a learning opportunity for the organization.
Reorganization of the value stream and introduction of team coordinators
To optimize the production organization, production lines were clustered and a team structure according to the value streams was set up. Next to the already existing function of shift leader, a new role of “team coordinator” was introduced to coach the team while the production organization remained FTE neutral. This was done by freeing up capacity via heijunka or production leveling. Shift leaders were trained to execute and coach Kaizen events and Root Cause Analysis while team coordinators are enabled to coordinate the improvement proposal system.
Improvement of the performance cascade
KPI’s at site level in terms of safety, quality and productivity were translated into team KPI’s and production line KPI’s and visualized by means of team boards and line boards. Deviations from the objectives serve as input for continuous improvement. The daily production meeting where site KPI’s are discussed was taken to the production floor so that problems that have occurred can be looked at immediately on the floor and if necessary root cause analysis can be done. In addition, team meetings were introduced to discuss team and production line KPI’s.
Introduction of quality at the source
A last challenge that was tackled was the introduction of quality at the source at the production lines. In the past quality checks were done by a separate team in a laboratory. One of the principles of quality at the source is to do the quality checks at the production lines, preferably by the production operators themselves so errors can be detected when and where they occur. To obtain this, quality checks were standardized and the laboratory team was brought to the production floor to teach the quality checks to the production operators. In addition, the laboratory team was trained to do Root Cause Analysis together with the production operators on the non-conformities detected during the quality checks.
During the entire project the site management team went through a leadership track by means of trainings and coaching on Enterprise Excellence Leadership, Gemba Walks, Personal Work Organization and Kata Coaching.
The collaboration with Möbius has led to the following concrete results:
- Increasing the problem-solving capacity of the shop floor by introducing Kaizen Events, Root Cause Analysis and an Improvement Proposal System: 15 kaizen events took place, 251 improvement ideas were generated and 114 employees were trained.
- Increasing flexibility and improving teamwork by changing the production organization: team coordinators were introduced while the production organization remained FTE neutral.
- Improving the performance cascade and information flow through translation and visualization of KPIs from site level to operator level: time spent on the daily production meeting reduced with 75%.
- Introduction and implementation of principles of quality at source: quality checks on the line by operators.
- Development of a self-sustainable organization towards their journey in Enterprise Excellence.
Möbius helped us to set up a cultural change program and identified together with the management team a clear road map. They guided the team with excellent coaching skills and together with them we became self-sustainable in this never-ending journey towards excellence.