Gestandaardiseerd inwerkprogramma maakt snelle groei mogelijk

Standardized tutorial program allows for quick growth is a fast-growing company. The supplier of tailor-made cardboard boxes is hitting the upper limits of its capacity. A bottleneck is training new employees. The machines require knowledge that only a handful of employees have. Kwattaas developed a set of clear work instructions, that serve as a work-in tool and for future references.

The question: tutorial program for new employees

Since 2006, Doosopmaat produces tailor-made cardboard boxes, in which customers can transport their products using fewer materials, less (transport)volume, and fewer filling materials. Sales have increased due to a growing awareness of sustainability and the possibility to order a small number of products. Small webstores and private entities are also finding Doosopmaat and commend the product quality and the short delivery times. The new owner sees potential for further growth. To facilitate growth, the factory has been reorganized and a part of the production has been outsourced. Still, it’s challenging to further increase production. The company is hiring more people and they’ve started working in shifts. It’s essential that operators can work independently and handle errors themselves. Now, these things require the help of a small number of experienced experts.

The analysis: different ways of working lead to different results

Each machine must be set up separately for each individual order, with parameters like the quality of the cardboard, measurements, type and glue-line. The experience and knowledge on how to correctly set the machine, mostly lies with a small number of experienced employees. Their expertise is often also necessary when fixing errors or other disturbances. An issue with working in shifts is that a more experienced employee isn’t always present, resulting in some errors only being fixed after several hours. A formal tutorial program with clear work instructions was still lacking. In consultation with the operations manager, Kwattaas discussed how these problems can be overcome.

Our approach: standardize, document and visualize

Based on the inventory it became clear that work instructions were necessary, that could be used in training new employees and that could also serve as reference. A number of things were important:

  • safety
  • installing/setting up the machines
  • working efficiently
  • uniformity in quality controls
  • regular maintenance of machines
  • fixing errors

In addition, it was important that the instructions were comprehensible for everyone, including people who aren’t proficient in Dutch.

A Kwattaas team consisting of three people (Liza as project manager, Jordi and Marcelle as project-assistants) got to work on making the work instructions quick and effective. Two persons went to the factory and learned the process head-to-toe by observing side-to-side with all the different operators. One person observed and asked questions, the other took notes and made photos and videos. The third person took the material and developed a clear work instruction. The instructions were then completely run through with the operators to ensure everything was correct. Meanwhile, the team noticed that not all employees operate in the same way or have the same quality standards. In addition, a number of things could be done more efficiently. All these insights were discussed with the experts and production leader, which lead to optimized processes and unambiguous, step-by-step, visual work instructions.

The result: working faster, fewer errors

The Kwattaas team developed a complete set of work instructions for all seven machines. These instructions were made in Powerpoint, printed in colour and put on display on the machines. Each instruction shows the processes step-by-step, with a short text and clear photos. For instructions where the ‘flow’ is important, short clips were made available on a Youtube-channel. The instructions are used for training employees and reference. Hereby, the operators became more independent and it relieved pressure on the experienced workers. Training is now quicker, and operators can consult the work instructions when they quickly need to look up something or don’t know something. Operators can now fix the most common errors with the help of the work instructions.

General Director of Doosopmaat, Jurgen Vugts, is happy with the results: “Aside from speed, a consistent quality is important for our clients. With these clear and concise work instructions our operators are capable of consistently maintaining the right quality.”

The existing work instructions are easy to modify and adjust, and Doosopmaat can also use the format for new processes and machines. For example, the company is working on a maintenance plan and ISO-standards; that can be added as work instructions. Doosopmaat has hired an intern to take these follow-up steps and to keep the existing work instructions up-to-date.

Are you facing similar challenges? Contact us