Lean Management, a guarantee of our operational excellence
Soufflet Performance Indicators
Since December 2020, a dedicated Lean Management team has been working daily to improve the operational excellence of our organisation. Composed of two experts, it structures the approach, initiated a few years earlier, to involve employees in continuous improvement within the company.
Training people, the basis for continuous improvement
In companies, Lean Management leading to real progress and guaranteeing consistency in the quality of the products delivered relies on the people who apply this approach each day. In order to disseminate this Lean mindset within the teams, an ambitious employee training programme was implemented. For the past two years, all our employees have been trained in the fundamentals of Lean Management to instil working methods and good habits.
Immersion in this way of working begins as soon as new recruits receive their orientation through a video that enables them to better identify malfunctions, learn how to solve a problem, manage a project or communicate as a team. Depending on the position held, our new employees then undergo specific training. Operator training focuses on their involvement in reporting malfunctions with a view to continuous performance improvement.
With the team leaders, the focus is on analysing discrepancies between our results and our objectives, defining action plans and monitoring their implementation. Lastly, for managers, the training focuses on the foundations and benefits of the Lean approach to make them ambassadors to their teams.
"Employee training and the management rituals put in place form the basis of our Lean approach within the company. They enable employees to be fully involved in this continuous improvement process. It becomes a state of mind!” Chakire Chahdi - Continuous Improvement Manager
Daily rituals to monitor indicators and take action !
In addition to employee orientation and training, the quality of a Lean Management approach depends on the introduction of rituals to anchor working methods in daily practices. For example, we have set up Soufflet Performance Indicators (SPIs), which are short meetings on specific themes and performance indicators. Implemented in August 2021 and now deployed in all French sites, these meetings enable factual results to be compared with target objectives with a view to improving progress.
During these meetings, a team leader and their staff identify problems by monitoring performance indicators and then quickly and collectively find solutions to implement. If the problem is profound, it is raised and discussed and a concrete action plan is determined to address it. The SPIs are conducted at regular intervals at the sites on several levels: the SPI1s are organised by the head of department with their teams, the SPI2s are organised by the site director with the heads of department. The topics covered include human safety, quality, waste management, the environment, performance and team motivation.
The method is adapted to the specificities of each site and department. Employees are fully involved in the process, particularly in the definition of indicators and their development. Some actions have led to significant productivity gains. Among the emblematic results obtained thanks to this system is the 50% reduction in transfer time from the germination box to the kiln at the Nogent-sur-Seine site. However, the latter are not the only ones concerned by the Lean approaches.
Indeed, all teams are integrated into the approach, particularly the support functions. For example, several actions are currently being carried out to optimise the efficiency of export and logistics. Following the deployment of Lean Management in France, in our malting plants and at the head office, the ambition is to now extend the approach to all our international sites.