Case Study
DIGITALES SHOPFLOOR MANAGEMENT

Operational excellence - Redesign of the organization

More clout for the organization

The demand for high-performance plastics is growing worldwide, especially in the automotive and electrical industries and in additive manufacturing. A specialty chemicals company supplies these markets with the required polymers and wants to ensure their availability and reliability of supply in the long term. It is investing in a new plant complex with the aim of increasing the total capacity of its existing production by more than 50%. Together with ROI-EFESO, the company is gearing its organizational structure to growth and profitability.

With foresight, the chemical company recognized the need to position itself in the dynamic and technically demanding polymer market by investing significantly in new facilities and employees. The expansion of production led to numerous changes: In order to quickly master and continuously reduce the complexity of the new work processes, the company launched a reorganization project. The focus was on three functions: technology, laboratories and the establishment of internal structures for continuous improvement.

Challenge

A manufacturer of polymers wants to double its production capacity and set up its organization accordingly. ROI-EFESO is redesigning the organisation with the company in a future-oriented way.

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ROI approach

Introduction of a sustainable organizational model as well as development and implementation of a stable performance management to enable the organization to deal with new complexity. Transfer of the relevant know-how and support in its application at the plant sites.

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Lessons learned

Early involvement of employees in the shop floor and in moderated workshops supports the rapid identification and resolution of errors. This also improves interface communication and the motivation of employees to contribute ideas.

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ROI success model

Introduction of an integrated process and performance management system for process improvement with problem-solving logic, application of the Schumacher model for redesign and implementation of the new organization.

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Redesign with assessment and pilot project

With a performance evaluation, ROI-EFESO identified important needs for improvement right at the beginning of the project: For example, roles and responsibilities within the new organisation were not sufficiently transparent for all employees, which led to frictional losses. The assessment also revealed initial starting points for structural improvements in personnel, processes and organizational design.

Insight in Performance Management

Based on the results of this evaluation, a project team consisting of ROI-EFESO consultants and company managers started the redesign phase with two objectives In a pilot project, the control system and some core processes were to be stabilised. At the same time, the focus was on preparing the organisation for the planned expansion project in the areas of technology, the laboratories and with regard to continuous improvement.

To this end, the project team installed a performance control system in the selected pilot plant and aligned the performance control system to the new requirements. In workshops with the responsible employees, the need for solutions to central issues such as the control system was discussed: How and with which key figures is management managed - and who actually uses these as in everyday work? How are meetings structured - and what changes would help to achieve results more quickly and efficiently? How can it be ensured that all system elements build on each other and the flow of information is not interrupted? The introduction of a structured problem solution for process improvement quickly yielded initial successes. For example, coaching and meeting rules significantly increased the effectiveness of morning meetings and shortened their duration by more than 50%.

Gemba Walks strengthen teamwork

Gemba Walks brought further improvements, in which the production and organisation managers discuss important topics or steps of the concrete work process with the shop floor staff on site. This clearly signalled that management takes time, listens and takes the employees' point of view into account. From the very beginning, ROI-EFESO followed an integrative and collaborative approach in implementing the measures, relying on transparency and participation. This approach was very well received by the organisation and motivated the employees accordingly.

Meeting times were reduced by more than 50% - with increasing effectiveness.

Clear "mission" thanks to Schumacher model

But in which organisational structure can the goal of increasing the total production volume by more than 50% be achieved? The project team used the "Schumacher Model" to redesign the organization. This leads in seven steps to concrete specifications such as a personnel organization chart, a qualification and implementation plan and finally to a performance management structure that is suitable for the company's organizational objectives (see diagram).

By the end of this project phase, the chemical company had reached several milestones. The "mission" for each team was as clearly defined as the responsibilities. Role descriptions and responsibilities were now clear down to the detailed level (RACI Matrix), clean control structures and a binding meeting structure strengthened the team and cross-company cooperation already during the consulting project.

Implementation and rollout

The third part of the project was the implementation of the new organization and the rollout of the improvements in the polymer production of the plant to two other units. To this end, employees from the organizational units that were significantly affected by the reorganization were first familiarized with the new structure and working methods in a two-day kick-off meeting. The event was intended to give the organization the time needed to understand and internalize the new structures and roles. At the same time, this was to serve as a common team starting point. In fact, this form of knowledge exchange and participation proved to be a project highlight for the participants, strengthening teamwork beyond the boundaries of lines and locations.

Knowledge exchange strengthens teamwork across line and location boundaries.

Horizontal rollouts with Change Agent

Based on the positive experience of the pilot operation, the company wanted to use essential elements or methods of the project in other companies as well. In order to support this "horizontal roll-out" into two further focus companies and to build up internal know-how for such transformation projects, an internal change agent was trained in the third project phase. Through targeted coaching in individual training units and on-the-job training, this agent prepared intensively for his new role as a permanent team member during the current project. This enables the company to meet future operational challenges in the organization in a targeted manner and ensure the long-term effectiveness of changes.

Ultimately, the company was not only able to successfully roll out performance management to two operations, but also to adapt it at other appropriate points. In addition, it improved existing processes by enabling kaizen teams to gain experience in structured problem solving. These teams also developed solution proposals that yield annual recurring benefits of more than EUR 1.5 million.

EUR 1.5 million generate ideas for problem solutions at annually recurring benefits.