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At the eleventh Hager Group Continuous Improvement Awards ceremony which took place on 15th December in the Mélies amphitheatre in Obernai, France, three teams were rewarded by the jury for their transverse and cross functional continuous improvement projects that create added value for the customer. This year’s CI scope was enlarged to focus on end to end, aiming to deliver the highest customer satisfaction, while maintaining the highest competitiveness of Hager Group.
Positive outcomes for growth and customers
The ambition of the day was to highlight and recognise transverse team achievement with positive outcomes for growth and customers not forgetting more efficient and effective processes, as such, the Gold trophy was awarded to the project “stop burning money on stock”.
“Stop burning money on stock”
The Business Group Building Automation is a high-mix low-volume business with short product life cycles and increasing project sales. A transformation of the value stream was necessary to satisfy customers’ expectations by reducing lead-time, yet improving the margin. The team was composed of colleagues from various departments in France, Germany, Italy and Poland. To achieve their objective the value stream was adapted to drastically reduce lead-time, improve reactivity and minimise stock via the following actions:
One of the benefits for Hager Group was dead-stock reduced from 25% down to 19%, thus avoiding losses of 2.4 M Euro, for customers the global on time delivery (OTD) was 98%, not to mention the environmental benefits of scrap being reduced from 3% to 2%. Florence Moro, Continuous Improvement manager and project member commented that, “one of the key achievements of this project was to make people understand the impact of their actions beyond their department and on the whole value stream. This mind set is mandatory for future steps towards our new value chain.” More details about this project will follow in 2015.
The Silver trophy was awarded to the project “Corcovado” involving actors from Brazil, Germany, France, China and Spain. It concerned insourcing and industrialisation of a new residential enclosures range in Brazil. The challenge facing the team was how to reconcile the cost and logistics issue of a product manufactured in Europe when it is for sale on the other side of the world in Brazil. “We therefore used all of Hager Group’s competencies and expertise around the world to set up an international project team. The team work between colleagues around the world was the key to success and introduced new competencies to the team in Brazil. This new platform gives us the flexibility to supply our local market and the Latin American ones,” emphasizes Edison Alvares, Industrial Manager in Brazil. The Business Group Casings team and Brazilian marketing team set about solving this challenging dilemma, the answer was a local solution. This success story started in 2013 and in record time, by March 2014, the very first casings were being produced locally in Rio de Janeiro for the South American market. The challenge was to remain within the 1M € investment budget and the specified tight time frame of just 18 months. A new production line was set up in Brazil to optimise the work flow with valuable knowledge from colleagues in La Roca, this made product configuration possible and lead time was reduced to 3 days. Customer clearance time was reduced and mould design and performance improved much to customers’ satisfaction.
"Made by Hager"
The Bronze trophy went to "Made by Hager" commercial enclosures for Australia. With every ending, there also comes an opportunity for a new beginning, as was the case when Hager Group separated from its long-standing Australian partner, B & R. "It gave us the opportunity to fundamentally reinvent the range of solutions we offer on the Australian market, as well as develop internally an integrated range of 'Made by Hager' products," explains Manager Business Area Enclosures in Blieskastel, Rémy Becher. The project commenced in October 2013 with the clear objective of developing distribution board solutions to cater for all the demands of the Australian market as quickly as possible and to the highest possible quality. Three completely new distribution board ranges were created as a result: Perfoma 2, a fixed busbar distribution cabinet intended for commercial installations, Invicta, completing Performa 2 and specially designed for our 6kA Miniature Circuit Breaker and Quadro.M, a modular metering and distribution board system also for commercial installations. Of course, Australian colleagues also played a significant role in this "intercontinental" and transverse project. In addition to dealing with marketing and product management, they were also responsible for what is known as "late customising", a unique process carried out within Hager Group. The basic components of the new distribution boards are manufactured at production sites in China, Italy and Spain, and then shipped to Sydney, where they are individually assembled by our Australian colleagues to cater to customers' needs.
The Eco Awards
Improving Hager Group’s environmental footprint continue to be part of the ceremony process, to this effect, the jury adhered to the 3 evaluation criteria of reducing consumption of resources and thus limiting CO2 emissions, evaluating the return on investment and the possibility of duplicating the proposed actions.
The Eco Award trophy was awarded to the Efen team at Uebigau, in Germany, for their improvements to machines and the cooling and lighting system in production as well as the quality of the air. The project has led to the reduction in electricity consumption thanks to hydraulic power machines being replaced by more efficient electric injection ones and better working conditions through improved quality and temperature of the air in the production area. In addition to this, the cooling agent R22 was eliminated, thus reducing the risk of greenhouse gases escaping. In comparison to 2012, these changes have reduced energy consumption by 15% representing 35K€ and CO2 emissions by 123 tonnes per year.
Teams at Obernai and Blieskastel were distinguished for their projects, respectively the setting up of a structured and sustainable approach to reduce on-site energy consumption of electricity, gas and water and an intelligent building (Hager Group research and application centre) offering alternative technologies for energy production. These projects help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy and thus improve the company’s environmental footprint.
Industry and markets are constantly changing, Hager Group has to deal with more and more complexity and these changes require constant adaptation of our processes. The challenge for our Continuous Improvement activities is to interconnect everything we do and look at the entire value chain. As the customer is paying for added value, the opportunity lies in becoming more efficient and effective in the way we meet customer needs. To conclude the ceremony, Daniel Hager congratulated all the participants for their hard work and dedication to continuous improvement which is on-going, everywhere and every day to satisfy the customer, commenting that “…it is important to get out of our comfort zone and to push our company forward to 2020.”
The winners of the CI Awards 2014 on stage.