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Hager Group rewards internal initiatives for continuous improvement
At the beginning of December, Hager Group organised for the tenth year in a row its “Continuous Improvement (CI) Awards” ceremony in Neunkirchen, close to the group’s headquarters in Blieskastel, Germany. The ceremony rewards employees who suggest the best initiatives in the domain of continuous improvement. This management principle, used at Hager Group’s 20 worldwide production sites, is a pillar of the organisation, its aim being to involve all employees and operators in the process of improvement, encouraging them to be actors in this approach and strengthen the culture of quality within the company.
This event also rewards the best initiatives linked to sustainable development, gathered at Hager Group under the banner of E3 (Ethics, Environment, Energy) with an Eco Award.
This year, each production site proposed at least one project, and for the first time non-industrial sites also participated in the competition. The 13 selected initiatives highlighted in Neunkirchen aim at optimising processes and eliminating non-profit and non-added values tasks. “Continuous improvement is a mind-set in our company, which benefits all our activities”, explains Daniel Hager, Hager Group CEO. “Our continuous improvement initiatives are in line with the needs of the market”, specifies Luis de Leon Chardel, Senior Vice-President Operations Services.
Five teams were rewarded at the 2013 CI Awards. The Gold trophy was awarded to a team at Ottfingen, Germany, which produces wiring accessories, for their systemic approach to improving workflows concerning 6,000 references. The time between a production order and delivery was reduced as well as the optimisation of raw materials. Precious time is lost during each mould change; the optimised process limits time loss as well as dividing by 24 the volume of plastic lost at the beginning of each production phase.
The Silver trophy was awarded to a team at Crolles, France, a site producing wireless alarms and interphone systems, for their work on productivity in the conception and fabrication of smoke detectors. "The growing market encouraged us to develop a third production line alongside the two existing ones," says Francois Peten, Process Engineer at Crolles. "We could avoid investing in a third line thanks to performance improvement of the two existing lines,” he explains.
A team from Annecy in France, a site specialised in the production of electronic cards, received the Bronze Award for its project on production quality for printed and assembled circuit boards. "We focused on three areas: improving the design of the pre-existing cards, modifying processes and adapting the organisation to new control standards," explains Stéphane Faure, in charge of the site. The result: in one year, non-conformity in production was divided by 15, that is to say, practically eradicated.
This year, the trophies not only concern industrial production: the multi-site MES team (Manufacturing Engineering Services) was rewarded with a special trophy, for its codification of electrical components project which involved 6 teams and eleven production sites.
A second special trophy was rewarded to the Brazilian site at Rio de Janeiro. This production site for circuit breakers (with almost 300 employees), acquired by the group in 2007, reduced by 55% the number of complaints for non-compliance and improved productivity for two assembly lines by respectively 20% and 40% thanks to the integration of the Hager Group production methods, Hager Production System HPS.
The Eco Award trophy was awarded to a team from Dongguan in China for the implementation of wood-chip energy instead of fuel in its painting unit. Energy costs for this activity decreased by 70%. “This trophy, awarded for the fourth time, is designed to recognise and reward teams that have led the best projects to reduce the environmental footprint of businesses," says Denis Munch, Sustainable Development Manager at Hager Group. “By making our best practices visible, Eco Awards encourage all sites to copy and reproduce these improvements in their own factories.”
“Continuous improvement allows us to maintain a competitive edge. We see it as a growth strategy, not a cost reduction strategy”, said Daniel Hager, Hager Group CEO, following the ceremony. “The opportunity for us lies in connecting all our efforts across all domains of activity, with a clear focus on both our customers’ needs and ambitions.”
Press Release : Continuous Improvement Awards 2013 (DOC, 381 KB)
Pictures : C.I. Award 2013 (ZIP, 16 MB)