Maintaining Sustainability through Implementation of Small Improvements
After successfully implementing continuous improvement program through the Cross Functional Improvement activities that significantly contribute to the production increase, in mid-2016 the biggest nickel mining company in Indonesia started workplace improvement program through area based team which also assisted by Relogica. At early stage, the company decided to implement the Workplace Improvement by forming pilot projects; one project at Processing Plant area and the other one at Mining area.
It has been more than 4 years since the companyimplementedcontinuous improvement program throughCross Functional Team approach. More than 60 teams involving and more than 300 employees in nickel mining and processing area have successfully contributed to increasing the company performance when the business pressure is high due to low nickel price. In order to maintain this achievement, it requires an additional approach that is more people oriented and also deepening involvement coverage to engage operator and mechanic level.
Workplace Improvement is an approach that builds on basic 5S and is an improvement method using a systematic teamwork involving employees working in the area.
Approach in carrying out Workplace Improvement, we focus our approach to problem solving on people aspect rather than technical aspect because the main purpose of the Workplace Improvement is to improve employees’ sense of ownership on their work area. This increased sense of ownership and problem solving skills correlates with an improved work area condition as well as improved team work performance.
The success of executing workplace improvement implementation will stimulate the employees’ paradigm shift and behavior from fire–fighting to preventive thinking by eliminating the source of problems in the workplace area (prevention at source).
Implementing Improvement Program
Before beginning Workplace Improvement activity, each team is trained in the new concept and methodology to get better understanding of Workplace Improvement.
The improvement activities start with forming an improvement team and determining scope & boundaries of the project. After the whole team members agreed on the matters that became focus point of the improvement, they began the clear up process by doing Gemba which means going out to the workplace altogether to observe and identify problems. In clear up process, all areas stakeholders are involved by doing tagging to identify defective/abnormal condition.
These defects are the source of all problems causing damage to the tools or equipment in work place. Identifying and applying a structured problem-solving approach would address the root cause of those problems and defects. That is why workplace improvement became an action of “prevention at source” which means to prevent problems and defect right from the sources. Defect is identified before the failure happened, so it will easier, faster, and cheaper to rectify problems.
Once the clear up process finished, team comes up with a plan to improve the workplace. The plan is presented to the management for approval. Implementation phase was the most challenging step in implementing Workplace Improvement. Commitment and involvement of stakeholders must be maintained by improvement team in order to able to fully implement the improvement plan.
The pilot project for this workplace improvement project was only an embryo that will grow wider in the company.
The wave of improvement must be expanded involving more people and areas problem solving will be transformed into daily work culture. Integrating Cross Functional Improvement and Workplace Improvement in Continuous Improvement Program will create a strong foundation for the company resulting in a work culture that is more positive, more productive and creates safer environment. Eventually it will accelerate the realization of the company’s vision toward the world class company performance.