Knowledge Bank Workplace Innovation

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  • Publication date: 2011
  • Date added: 7 June 2011
  • Organisatie:

    Franke Nederland B.V.

  • Homepage:

  • Contactpersoon:

    Henk Jan Heling, Operations Manager Franke

  • Bezoekadres:

    Lagedijk 13




Rating: World Class Manufacturing at Franke Helmond

World Class Manufacturing at Franke Helmond

2011 – Mid 2010 Franke Nederland B.V. began with World Class Manufacturing. Workplace  innovative components are typical in this continuous improvement process. Already within a few years the process resulted in substantial savings. In the city of Helmond, Franke employs 150 people who manufacture stainless steel products for kitchens and catering. In their factory in Brunssum, the company produces synthetic sinks. To remain competitive in a market where low cost countries are entering, Franke aims for a faster, more flexible and cheaper production. 

World Class Manufacturing (WCM)
WCM is a system that has been known in the production sector for several years. WCM is not a project, with a limited timeline. It is a continuous improving process that is integrated in day to day business.
An important component is ‘lean manufacturing’: produce as smart as possible while keeping a focus on the prevention of all kinds of waste. It starts with an analysis of the actual processes (zero measure­ment). Kernel question is: which process steps do add value for the client, and which cause waste or do add only very little. This analysis is the basis for the improvements. These  steps of analysis and improvements are being embedded structurally in the organisation. At  Franke  one day per week is called ‘lean day’; managers of all levels meet to initiate and discuss options for improvement.
At the same time all employees are being educated and trained to make them multi-employable. In these programs the principles of WCM are incorporated. Workers develop the competencies to identify which activities are wastes, and which do add value.

Workplace  Innovation
Not only management is active with WCM, every week the workers have their own ‘team board meeting’. All employees are invited to propose their ideas for improvement. Those are written in the team board, and entered in a system. A reaction is given on any idea indicating whether  the idea is implemented or not. The department managers facilitate [chair] the meetings which take 20 to 30 minutes per week.
Management is responsible for the implementation of the acquired suggestions. So, no special department was raised. The production manager, called “Mr Lean”, has the primary attention for the improvement process, and spends most of the required time. Henk-Jan Heling, the manager operations at Franke, is responsible. In the primary stage two consultants of Van Lente & de Vos conducted managers in their role as facilitator [chairman] of WCM meetings and the WCM process.

Most of the workers had to become accustomed to the new way of working, and to the improve­ment culture. They had been working for many years in the same routine. The training helped them to see the benefits of WCM for themselves and for the company. Enthusiasm increases, there is more variety in their work, while more output is generated with less or the same effort.
In March 2011 already 800 ideas had been proposed; more than 500 of these are now implemented. All work stations are cleaned up, and refurnished. Each work station has a tool board with markings where a specific tool is supposed to be. This eliminates the time spent on searching for the right tool. The whole factory is neater after the large scale  cleaning that was done.
Stocks in the workplace are reduced by 70%, resulting in substantial savings. The lead time of the factory is reduced by 50%. The ambition is to reduce the lead time by 90% in three to four years.

Next steps
Following the success at the shop floor, Franke  will apply WCM also in the offices: World Class Leadership and World Class Office.  In these projects there will looked  critically at inefficiencies in the office environment.

Franke successfully applied for an ESF grant. This grant obliges the company to share their experiences. The first meeting with companies in the neighbourhood is held. Henk-Jan Heling can recommend what they did to any company: “Go and look at companies which have implemented WCM, and do experience their enthusiasm. This is much more convincing than reading the books on WCM.”

This case description  is based on the article World Class Manufacturing by Franke Helmond in ‘A+O nieuws’ of March 2011, which is attached.