|Task||Process improvements and introduction to lean administration|
|Sector||Truck manufacturer, 4 locations in Germany|
|Number of employees||Approx. 120|
|Implementation length||1.5 years|
The task of this flagship project was to align and synchronise the HR processes across all four of the truck manufacturer’s locations, and to then standardise them when introducing lean administration. It was assumed that the target of 250,000 euros per quarter would, at the very least, be exceeded.
The change to future projects
The first challenge was to flesh out the project charter and project contract and to clarify from the outset how freed-up resources would be dealt with. In this project, the client resolved this issue by deploying these resources for the new future projects, which were in desperate need of capacity. The need for new hires was, to a great extent, avoided. In addition, those affected by the project felt no fear. On the contrary: Switching to the future projects was favoured, because the new, challenging activities were seen as interesting.
The six stages of change as a basis
After this had been clarified, the signed project charter had to be cleared with the responsible HR managers. To avoid paying lip service, the six steps of transformation were used as the basis, in order to generate explicit commitment that was heard and supported by everyone. Then the next hierarchical level had to be brought on board, in order to guarantee that the approach was implemented across all locations.
The personal acceptance
How is transparency across all processes in all facilities achieved with everyone’s total acceptance? – From a methodical standpoint, this isn't difficult; the challenge lay in acceptance at a personal level. In this case, project organisation was key: For each work package there was an HR plant controller who was in charge of the work package. Under this person there were work package employees from every facility. This meant that one employee would be in charge of a work package, such as standardisation, but worked in a different work package, such as shop floor management.
All methodological topics and work packages
We adapted the method to the complexity of the process by trimming the topics to be relatively narrow in scope: In addition to process standardisation and shop floor management, they included process mapping or problem resolution. In this way, all methodical topics and work packages were represented in one facility, and by collaborating with the other facilities, we could ensure that everyone was implementing the agreed-upon new standard in equal measure.
The next step was about achieving transparency. This was no small feat with four plants consisting of 120 HR employees! The activity structure analysis was done with the approval and support of the works council, and consisted of everyone taking notes over a period of ten working days.
Workshops and standardization
The insight gained was very interesting and somewhat new to all participants: they learned about the number of processes, their speed and frequency, and how many people were involved. This insight was used as the basis of the ensuing workshops and standardisations.
Evidence of a change
At each facility, all employees were given three anonymous questionnaires regarding management style: at the start, mid-way through, and at the end. This made it possible to clearly and unequivocally regulate and show proof of a transformation. The core values worked through by the management staff in each facility described common behaviour and fundamental understanding, which became apparent in daily operations.
To assess the potential, the activity structure analysis was carried out once more at the end of the project. The results of a highly successful project: The extent of potential was even higher than was projected at the start of the project.