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World Class Magazine

WCP Continuous improvement The Blom way Couleur Locale TPM Lean Six Sigma

World Class


(RE)FRESHEN YOUR TPM KNOWLEGDE TPM cannot simply be implemented from one day to the next. It requires considerable commitment from both an organisation’s management and its people to actually put TPM in place. The organisation has to have a solid implementation plan and strong in-house guidance, not to mention expert and up-to-date knowledge about TPM. Blom Consultancy provides the answer, with its unique, highly intensive, hands-on TPM Facilitator Training for staff tasked with internal steering or supervising of TPM. The course is scheduled on a regular basis, and consists of two 3-day sessions (includes evenings) given on site at a production company. The sessions are designed to ensure that participants (plant managers, production managers, TD managers, production leaders, and others) really internalise their new knowledge by having them roll up their sleeves and put it to work in practice. In other words, your organisation could have its own in-house TPM facilitator within only six days!

Blom Consultancy | Heuvel 11 | 5737 BX Lieshout | T +31 (0)499 - 42 79 79 | F +31 (0)499 - 42 79 78 |


15 years of World Class Performance 15 years of World Class Performance

4 The Blom Way 8 Couleur locale 12 Mindset 14 WCP at Stork 18 World Class Performance 22 Working together 24 FullFact 27 WCP at Saint Gobain 30 Implementing TPM in the west 34 TPM Aviko Rixona 37 TPM Office Unilever 40 Cosun Coen de Haas 43 Leidership 46 Seattle Study Tour 50 Lean at Corus 52 Lean at Boeing 54 Lean Healthcare

Dear reader, This may be your first encounter with a truly World Class magazine. We mean World Class in the sense that the magazine is entirely devoted to continuous improvement, which is something that we at Blom Consultancy call World Class Performance, or WCP. This magazine provides you with a mix of indepth articles, reports and interviews about various subjects. We describe, for example, how our approach has crystallised into a harmonious model over the past 15 years. People, processes and environment are central to this model that reflects ‘continuous improvement, the Blom Way’. We have also included an interesting article about the influence of local culture versus the corporate culture. Blom Consultancy works all over Europe and therefore deals with many different cultures. We use the local conditions as a means adding a splash of local colour to a centrally mapped out plan. Probably the most interesting articles are the ones contributed by our business relations. How do Royal Cosun, DHL, Saint Gobain, Keytec, Stork and Corus, for example, apply Lean, TPM, Six Sigma or WCP in their organisations?

62 Smurfit Kappa WCQM

Read what they have to say and let them inform, motivate and inspire you. We, in turn, would love to take our inspiration from you. What are some of the concerns in your organisation, and how are you tackling them? We would love to tell your story in the next edition of Word Class Performance Magazine.

64 Keytec

Read and enjoy!

58 World Class Six Sigma 60 Six Sigma at DHL


Leading - to World Class Per formance


Continuous improvement – The Blom Way Harmony between people, processes and environment Continuous improvement can be achieved in many ways and is known by just as many names. What stands out is that the main focus is on the chosen method rather than on what we actually want to achieve. Continuous improvement with Blom Consultancy means taking an integrated approach that incorporates all the aspects of an organisation: people, processes and their environment. The best method is not the most important part. The point is to bring those three aspects into harmony. Once that balance is struck, it creates a synergy that acts as a flywheel, driving your development and carrying you faster and more smoothly towards your goal: towards World Class Performance.


Leading - to World Class Per formance


“What we often see”, explains Blom Consultancy Managing Director Ton Aerdts, “is that organisations that want to pursue continuous improvement often take a fairly one-dimensional view of it. They adopt an improvement method such as Lean, TPM or Six Sigma and focus on improving a specific production process. Or they implement personal coaching to improve personal performance. Is there anything wrong with that? No, but… it can be so much more. If you don’t restrict yourself to just that one tool or that one aspect, but take full advantage of all the tools at your disposal – influencing all the relevant aspects simultaneously – then you achieve ‘flow’, to borrow a sports term. Excellent performance almost comes naturally at that point, in all areas and in all your people.”

Doesn’t this sound too logical?

“I don’t mind if you call it logical”, says Aerdts. “In many cases, something that sounds logical is good. Or rather, if it doesn’t sound logical and it isn’t clear, it often isn’t good either.” He indicates that Blom is not alone in integrating different approaches. “We increasingly see fusions of the various improvement methods emerging: Lean Six Sigma, for example. Lean and TPM have the same origin: the Toyota Production System. So they have a lot in common.” Blom has always been on a quest for harmony, from its very beginnings. It was not known as World Class Performance back then, but the aim was to have people achieve excellent performance in a harmonious environment, allowing them to make their optimal contribution to the objectives of their company.”

What does Blom do?

An integrated approach is embedded in the DNA of the consultancy firm. But what about integrating the different aspects of a company? “What we have increasingly recognised”, Aerdts says, “is that there are three aspects that are essential in creating an organisation that improves continuously: the people, the processes and the environment. These are the facets you want to influence in order to do better. Fin-


ding harmony between the energy you invest in each individual facet is difficult and demands a lot from people; they constantly have to switch gears. What’s more, you often see each aspect being assigned to a different person, in a different job, who in turn is being coached by a different external consultant. Aspects are handed from person to person. What we aim to achieve is a smooth integration of all three aspects, creating synergetic strength.


The three terms Blom uses to define the essential aspects of an organisation are just as broad as the Ganges in monsoon season. How does Aerdts define them? “People refers not only to the knowledge, skills and capacities that people need to have. We also mean the commitment you bring to your work, how your personality is wired, how you interact with others and what mindset you have. And people means everyone: from top-tier manager to operator, from cafeteria worker to line officer.”


Processes could include many different things. According to the Blom director, you could extend the concept to all processes, from order to cash, from concept to product, and to the sales process or strategic process. “And many sub-processes can be described within that set. The point is that you don’t focus on one single activity. At least not without considering the activities that come before or after it. Narrowing the scope too far creates a very real risk of sub-optimisation. You think up a fantastic solution for department A, but that causes problems in department B, or does not add value that the client can recognise.”

brainstorm. In assembly, a U-shaped workspace may be very useful; a healthcare institution might need a healing environment that incorporates colour, music, nature and even scent.”


“The principle here is to structure the environment in such a way that the people can carry out the processes as optimally as possible”, Ton Aerdts states. “In everything we do, we incorporate a focus on all three facets. Even when we restructure our own offices. We continuously look at how we can help our working environment be a better fit for the processes and the people. But at the same time we check to make sure that the processes are optimal and see what we can do to help people carry those processes out even better.” Blom has attempted to capture that synergy in a single image. The three aspects (people, processes and environment) are still clearly visible, but flow smoothly into each other, revealing the harmonious coherence between the elements. “The image is also explicitly dynamic”, Aerdts explains. “You can almost see how much faster and easier it will spin.”

How does Blom do it?

“We don't look at what kind of company you are, and then choose an improvement philosophy to fit. Say,


And environment: does Aerdts mean nature here? “This concept could be very broad, but we primarily look at the physical setting in which the work needs to be done. That working environment needs to support the processes that take place there. A product development department will need an inspiring room where people can

Ton Aerdts, Managing Director

Leading - to World Class Per formance


if you are a production company, we pull TPM out of the drawer. Your primary process is assembly? Great, then we have Lean here for you. We prefer to look at the seven losses as formu-

behavioural changes are concerned. If you, the manager, want to change a culture, you will have to act as a role model.” Aerdts knows from personal experience. “People watch your feet, not your mouth.” The proven improvement philosophies offer good tools for managing this ‘soft’ aspect of change. “But we often see that it takes more than that to make a change process successful. That’s why we can also rely on extensive knowledge and experience about change management, influencing corporate culture, giving personal guidance to people and teams, and improving communication between them.”

Mindset, knowledge and tools lated by Toyota, and then use this as the basis for finding the best solution. Thinking outside the limitations of individual improvement philosophies lets you find the best solution for any problem. That’s one of the strengths of World Class Performance. In essence, it is an integrated starting point; we can move on from there to choose the right approach every time.”

The extensive knowledge and spot-on mindset of the Blom consultants is supplemented by another unique element in the Blom Consultancy approach. “We have noticed that our clients feel a strong need for support in the form of physical tools”, Aerdts relates. “This could include signs with improvement tips in production rooms, internal communication tools or automated resources. Things that can be outsourced to

ad agencies and IT companies. But the sustentative knowledge to make it happen is oftentimes lacking, which is why we have people who can also handle these aspects.”

Capability building

And there is something else that makes ‘the Blom Way’ so unique. “Blom has no desire to make its clients dependent on advice from external consultants. One of the core values of World Class Performance is ownership. That sense that you are personally responsible for your contribution to the organisation’s continuous improvement. We are committed to conveying as much knowledge and expertise as possible; once we're out of the picture, we want you to be able to keep working on continuous improvement on your own. We call it capability building. Our aim is to build continuous improvement into the mindset of the organisation, its management and its people. Then the Blom Way will become your way, and we will have achieved our World Class Performance.”

‘People’ people

Besides its synergetic approach and principles of integration, there is a third dimension that makes Blom fairly unique as a consultancy firm. “One client recently explained it by saying that we are true ‘people’ people. What he meant”, Aerdts says, “is that our focus is not just on the technical aspects of the change, but on the human side of it all. In essence, this is an intrinsic part of our integrated approach, but you still need to have people working for you who know how to express it. Our consultants are open-minded and enjoy talking to people in the workplace. That’s where you hear what’s going on and how you pinpoint potentially sensitive areas. In other words, our people have the mindset they need to do this job right.”

Change management

“Of course they can communicate just as easily with managers, too. And this is a skill they need; management plays a very important part, especially where 6

Leading - to World Class Per formance

CHANGE requires



Process improvement bij DHL, effectief verbeteren met SGA



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Blom Consultancy bv Heuvel 11, Lieshout (NL)



De laatste uurtjes werden besteed aan het voorbereiden van de presentatie. Hiervoor was een uitgebreid gehoor naar het Ravensteinse Studiecentrum getogen, bestaande uit opdrachtgevers en collega’s. De toehoorders werden door de teams stap voor stap meegenomen door hun analyse en hun oplossingsrichtingen. Opvallend waren volgens het publiek zowel de verschillen als de overeenkomsten. Er


Future State





verschillende functies samen te werken. “Mensen die je normaal nooit spreekt, of die hiërarchisch op een ander niveau zitten, worden ineens je teamleden waarmee je op gelijk niveau intensief samenwerkt.” Ook de verschillende inbreng van de teamleden werd als positief ervaren. “Je kijkt normaal gesproken toch vooral via je eigen venstertje naar de zaken. Als je dan ineens mag meekijken via iemand anders venster dan is dat heel verfrissend.” Er waren ook kritische opmerkingen te horen: “De analyse duurde erg lang, misschien wel te lang. Je hebt de neiging direct naar de toekomstige situatie te willen kijken.” Voor Van Vugt had de analyse weinig naar voren gebracht wat hij nog niet wist. Hij was bovendien, en velen met hem, van mening dat het ontbreken van cijfers over het aantal behandeling in de verschillende categorieën een groot gemis was. “We hebben wel een gevoel over hoeveelheden, maar ondanks herhaalde verzoeken, ontbreken harde cijfers nog steeds.


De verwachtingen over het vervolg van het traject waren gemengd. Aan de ene kant hadden de deelnemers zeker het gevoel een belangrijke stap in de goede richting te hebben gezet. Aan de andere kant waren er veel twijfels bij de daadwerkelijke invoering van de oplossingen. “Men zal het met de ideeën wel eens zijn, maar zodra de beurs getrokken moet worden…” Of de beurs daadwerkelijk getrokken moet worden (misschien leveren de oplossingen wel besparingen op) en of er dan inderdaad niet thuis gegeven wordt, moet natuurlijk nog blijken. Een positieve opmerking die in dit verband werd gemaakt: “Dat zal ook afhangen van de kwaliteit van onze oplossingen en de overtuiging waarmee we die presenteren.” Een mooier bruggetje naar het vervolgtraject is eigenlijk niet te bedenken.

en te analyseren waar verbetermogelijkheden liggen. Er werd in drie teams gewerkt die allen hun eigen analyse maakten. De teams hebben zich tijdens de tweede dag ook bezig gehouden met het bekijken van mogelijke oplossingrichtingen. Procesbeschrijving, analyse en oplossingen werden ter afsluiting gepresenteerd ten overstaan van de andere teams en een select gezelschap van collega’s.

Voor meer informatie over continu verbeteren, bezoek de site van Blom Consultancy bv: Heeft u interesse in de verbeterproducten van Blom Consultancy, kijk op:

Houd je aan de regels en spreek elkaar erop aan

brengen. De gewenste toekomstige situatie dus. En die moet natuurlijk de geconstateerde problemen oplossen. Dus werd er driftig over mogelijke oplossingen gebrainstormd. In het team Neuro werd een strijd gestreden tussen een Australische oplossing (waarbij de medewerkers 100% flexibel inzetbaar waren) en een meer Hollandse (die slechts van een beperkte flexibiliteit uitging). Het creatieve brein van Anesthesioloog Tielens maakte overuren. Hij bedacht de ene na de andere oplossing, die vervolgens door zijn teamleden tegen het licht werden gehouden. Elk bezwaar tegen het ene leidde direct tot een ander idee. Team Trauma had een wat abstractere oplossing bedacht in de zin dat ze het onderscheid tussen de urgentiecategorieën ter discussie stelden.

was duidelijk sprake van herkenning bij de probleemanalyses en van Al voor de lunch begon het intensieve bewondering en verwondering bij de denken, de roerige nacht in het oplossingsrichtingen. De volgende oude Soeterbeeck en de niet milde bijeenkomsten zullen gebruikt worden buitentemperatuur (25°C) de deelom de oplossingen verder uit te nemers wat op te breken. Tijd om werken (of nieuwe oplossingen te iets anders te gaan doen; nadenken bedenken) en de implementatie voor over de toekomst. Hoe zou het proces te bereiden. Tijdens de afsluitende er nu idealiter uit zien? De teams borrel werd nog driftig nagepraat over mochten even wegdromen in een het proces tot nu toe en werd vooruit ‘roze wolk’. Wat is onze droom? Waar gekeken naar de toekomst. zou het toekomstige proces nou aan Wie op 18 en 19 juni langs het Studiecentrum Soeterbeeck liep moet de moeten voldoen?. Een wensin wasRavenstein “Ik wil gewoon opereren wanneer het hersenen hebben horen kraken. Door 17 Radboudianen van allerlei Ervaringen pluimage, werd mij uitkomt”. En een ander melde: “het De deelnemers waren het over namelijk enorm hard nagedacht over hoejuiste de acute zorg beterVanuit georganiseerd kaninworden. team voor de patiënt”. de één ding ieder geval eens: zo’n droomwereld was de stap naar een boosterbijeenkomst is zeer intensief Het voorliggende probleem: hoe zorgen toekomstige we dat dewerkelijkheid problemen rond de behandeling van niet zo’n en vermoeiend. Een veel gehoorde opmerking was ook dat het leuk categorie 2a, 2b en 3 opgelost worden? heel grote stap. De teams gingen aan de slag om de ‘future state’van het en interessant is om met mensen De zogenaamde ‘booster-bijeenkomst’ had tot doel huidige proces in van kaartverschillende te brengenafdelingen en proces van dehet acute zorg in kaart te

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Er kwam een aantal bronoorzaken naar boven. De vele overdrachts- en communicatiemomenten enerzijds, en het ontbreken ervan anderzijds. De patiënten uit categorieën 2 en hoger blijken, na binnenkomst, vaak een tijdlang ‘spoorloos’. Niemand weet precies waar ze zich bevinden en wat er wanneer met ze gaat gebeuren (ook de patiënt zelf niet). Ze verblijven als het ware ‘in het donker’. Ook de wisselende samenstelling in het team per OK werd als hinderlijk ervaren. Het bleek dat niemand een totaaloverzicht had en dat niet altijd de juiste kennis op de juiste plek aanwezig was. Tot slot bleken opleiding en zorg af en toe met elkaar in conflict te zijn.

Zorg altijd voor een schone en opgeruimde werkplek


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geheel vonden de meesten, maar wel goed om te doen. Neurochirurg Beems: “Je denkt op een gegeven moment, jeetje, moet dat nou zo uitgebreid? Maar aan het eind zie je dat je dan pas echt zicht krijgt op waar het beter kan.” Operatie-assistente Lentjens: “Ik vond het ook interessant te zien wat in de andere delen van het proces, naast het stukje waar je zelf bij betrokken bent, gebeurt.” Kortom een nuttige en interessante exercitie, die sommigen zelfs ’s nachts bezig heeft gehouden.

Spelregels TD:


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De boosterdagen maken onderdeel uit van een breder traject dat tot doel heeft te komen tot een “Acute Zorg van Wereldklasse”. Opvallend aan het traject is dat oplossingen niet door deskundigen achter een bureau worden bedacht, maar door de direct betrokken medewerkers zelf. De deelnemers vormden dan ook een doorsnee van alle afdelingen en functies die met de acute zorg te maken hebben. De deelnemers werden ingedeeld in 3 groepen. De groep Neuro bestond uit: Astrid Paauwen (Anesthesie medewerker), Marcel Hasenbos (Anesthesiologie), Laura

Blok (Anesthesiologie), Francien Penders (Operatie-assistent) en Tjemme Beems (Neurochirurgie). De groep Kinderen werd gevormd door: Annemieke Lentjens (Operatie-assistent), Luc Tielens (Anesthesiologie), Jan Blankensteijn (Heelkunde), Frans v.d. Staak, Rene Severijnen (Kinderchirurgie) en Ton Eikmans (Hoofd anesthesieondersteuning). Het team Trauma was samengesteld uit: Janneke Hofs (Operatie-assistent), Maria Steeghs (Operationeel manager), Dennis v. Aalst (Anesthesiologie), Bob Funnekotter (Anesthesiologie) en Arie v. Vugt (Heelkunde). Dit team werd aangevuld door Dorine Pluimers

(junior onderzoeker) vanwege haar promotieonderzoek naar de effecten van deze aanpak. De teams werden begeleid door consultants van het bedrijf Blom Consultancy uit het Brabantse Lieshout.


Het in kaart brengen van het huidige proces gebeurde aan de hand van de zogenaamde ‘Makigamimethode’. Een, zoals de naam al doet vermoeden, uit Japan afkomstige aanpak waarbij op enorme vellen papier het proces stapje voor stapje wordt weergegeven. Bij elke stapje wordt vervolgens bekeken of het goed loopt, of niet. Een uitputtend

“I want you to do it differently from now on!” It might be the most direct way to communicate change, but is it the best? Does the person know what they’re supposed to do differently? Do they have the information they need to do it differently? Are they motivated to do it differently? Can they see the change as part of a bigger picture? And after a certain amount of time, have they forgotten that they were supposed to do it differently? Yes, change requires communication, but it must fit the situation. Blom Consultancy’s team of communication experts are here to help. From advice to finished product, we customize our approach to fit your company. Further information:

Blom Consultancy | Heuvel 11 | 5737 BX Lieshout | T +31 (0)499 - 42 79 79 | F +31 (0)499 - 42 79 78 |


If your organisation has multiple branches – whether within a single country, or spread across several countries – then you know that there can sometimes be major cultural differences between those branches. In some cases, these differences are a legacy of the past, for example if a company was acquired. Sometimes differences in language, dialect or geography can lead to distinctly unique cultures. Blom Consultancy operates throughout Europe and is fully aware of these corporate and country cultures. But it goes beyond that: we take advantage of such differences by adapting the central strategy to local culture wherever we can. So how can these differences be defined more precisely, and how do they influence the implementation of World Class Performance? We took a tour through Europe, talking to Blom representatives in Belgium, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands.

The local colour of

World Class Performance Corporate culture versus local culture


Leading - to World Class Per formance


Johan Isphording from Blom Hungary kft offers an example of the influence of the local culture, in this case the Hungarian culture. “In very locally-run companies in Hungary, people feel a strong sense of pride. It’s not easy to convince them that there might be a better way to do something. Big international com9

panies present different problems”, he explains. “On many cases there is a main office in a different country dictating what happens. Since measures imposed from above often encounter resistance, by the time that the employees in the Hungarian branch are ‘willing’, their time is almost up, and panic

breaks out. Then the changes have to be rushed through, making a normal WCP approach difficult. If an experienced international consultant isn’t involved, there is a danger that it will just be window dressing. The changes are implemented, but people are not focused on continuous improvement.”

Leading - to World Class Per formance


Ron Barten from Blom Deutschland GmbH sees different issues at work. “In Germany, the main issue you need to consider is the formal approach. What people want to see from us as Berator (which means counsellor rather than consultant, another subtle cultural difference) is a clear structure that sets out precisely what needs to be done and what it will yield. Also, the formal conversational niceties are extremely important in Germany. Don’t try to call people by their first name. It makes Germans feel very uneasy. You are constantly addressed as ‘Herr Barten’, which immediately confers a certain air of authority.”

Johan Isphording from Blom Hungary kft

“In the Netherlands”, says managing director Ton Aerdts from the Blom Consultancy main office in the Netherlands, “you are judged less on your title than on the basis of what you have accomplished and the relationship you have with someone.” Chrisof Frenay from Blom Consultancy Belgium indicates that building a client-consultant relationship of mutual trust is very important in his country and takes quite a lot of time. “By nature, the Belgian prefers to try to introduce WCP himself first and is slow to acknowledge a consultant’s value as a source of knowledge to accelerate the learning curve. Good references, a convincing story and quick results are more important in starting a relationship. The underlying long-term improvement philosophy is a lower priority.” Belgians also take a fairly sceptical view of external consultants


in the workforce. People often think that they’ll have to work even harder and that the pressure from higher up in the hierarchy won’t support ideas coming from the workforce. Compared to such countries as the Netherlands, communication between management and employees runs through far more indirect channels. Luckily, this does not apply everywhere. Many companies have launched a WCP process in the past years, and successfully too. Actually involving the workforce in finding improvement solutions - a complete change in cultural direction for some companies - is essential here.” In Southern European countries like Spain, France and Italy, the distance between management and employees is often even greater. The workforce has less influence in what happens here. Frenay, who also works in these countries, states that seeing the management mingling with the workforce is the exception rather than the rule. “People there believe in the hierarchy and generally launch improvements from the top down. Management is less comfortable with involving the workforce in change processes, possibly fearing for their own position, or believing that they should have all the information and employees should just follow instructions.” Ton Aerdts wonders whether that is true of all companies. “In bigger international companies we see like General Electrics, Toyota, or for example Procter & Gamble that the corporate culture is stronger than the local culture. It doesn’t matter whether a branch is located in Poland, Spain or Sweden; the way they work is the same everywhere.” According to Frenay “that type of company invests heavily in management training and behaviour Ron Barten from Blom Deutschland GmbH

in management roles in order to create a specific corporate culture. But even there, especially in mid-sized companies, the local culture continues to play a major role. The way they work may be the same, but the way that the management and the workforce communicate with each other is still different. Compared to Northern Europe, the Southern European manager consults the workforce less, and employees are less likely to knock on the boss’s door.” Isphording thinks this might also be related to a country’s historical development. In countries like Hungary, communism is still present on the production floor. A manager talking to his people still looks a bit awkward to both parties. He thinks he’s doing the right thing, but the people walk out shaking their heads. The employees obediently say yes and agree with him, but don’t really believe yet that they can actually influence anything. Personal initiative was seriously discouraged in those days. People prefer to wait for the boss to tell them what to do. Aerdts believes that internationalisation and the application of WCP can help change that culture. “As I said before, corporate culture can overshadow local culture, and even influence it. A strong corporate culture often spreads beyond the company’s walls.” Familiarity or unfamiliarity with the various improvement philosophies apparently also differs from country to country. In the East, Isphording explains, terms like WCP are almost unknown. “For example, we’ll be talking about ‘5S’, but what we really mean is ‘cleaning up the workplace’.” Barten says that in Germany, but also elsewhere, if the management says, “we’re going to do WCP!”, people think, “ouch, that’s going to cost jobs”. In Belgium, various terms are being used, Frenay indicates, “Quality Management, TPM, Business Process Excellence, EFQM, Six Sigma…” “It doesn’t really matter all that much what you call it”, says Aerdts. “Many companies give their improvement programme a name along the lines of the

Leading - to World Class Per formance


he states. “A company’s relationship with the unions is vital when it comes to change plans.” “In Hungary, the lack of funds means that the unions are not as well organised; as a result, they may be reasonably accommodating”, says Isphording.

Ton Aerdts from Blom Netherlands

Toyota Production System (TPS), i.e. the [company name]Production System. Fine, that can be valuable if you use the name to create unity - if you use the name consistently, and don’t just stick the label on a single project or a one-time stunt.” To what extent do preconceptions play a part? According to Isphording, speaking the language is just as important, if not more so. “Then it doesn’t matter much where you’re from. Especially in the developing economies in Eastern Europe, where you’re often dealing with foreign head offices, your input as a Western European is valued highly.” Frenay and Barten confirm this impression. According to Ton Aerdts, flexibility and the ability to speak multiple languages are important characteristics that make it possible for a Blom consultant to anticipate the quirks of the local culture anywhere and to connect with both management and employees. Other aspects that organisations committed to continuous improvement face include works councils and trade unions. In Germany, the trade unions and works councils have considerable influence. “For us as Berators, it is crucial to get both on board”, Barten affirms. Aerdts sees the same thing in England, where you often have to deal with several different unions at once. “If they aren’t convinced, or don’t feel that they’ve been involved enough, they can stop things from happening”,


In the former Eastern Bloc, he explains, employee emancipation is not progressing very well to begin with. “A worker is a worker. There is a clear distinction between the management and the workforce.” Isphording partly attributes the gapp between management and workforce in Eastern Europe to the fact that the employees actually need their jobs. “Minimum wages are low and many people hold down multiple jobs to make ends meet. And if you’re that dependent on your job, you tend not to stick your neck out.” According to Blom’s representative in Hungary, the low standard of living also affects loyalty to the company. “If people can earn 20 euros more somewhere else, they’re already gone.” A company that applies WCP may have an edge on the labour market in that respect. Not because of the term WCP, but because of how successful it is. “High turnover and the resulting influx of new employees is not a problem as such”, says Aerdts, “but it is frustrating to have to train new people over and over. As a company, your learning curve should keep going up.” Frenay agrees. “But in that case, you do have to give your people sufficient resources.” Barten relates that Toyota in Germany specifically aims to maintain a balance between retaining experienced employees and bringing in new people. “By doing so, they hope to constantly gain new technologies and knowledge. Another obvious way to pursue continuous improvement, of course.”

have much of a celebration culture in Hungary either”, Isphording adds. “Celebration is normal in Germany, with cake, even including a photo of the employee or team involved”, Barten relates. “That’s common in the Benelux too, but the photo quickly sprouts doodles of glasses and moustaches”, add Aerdts laughing. He notes that employees in countries where celebrations are less appropriate often gain satisfaction from presenting their

Chrisof Frenay from Blom Belgium bvba

work to the management. “If it makes people feel proud of their work and gives them a sense of ownership for the solutions, then that enhances engagement and commitment, increasing the chance that they want to participate again next time.”

One of the key principles of World Class Performance is highlighting and celebrating successes. How that is done also differs significantly from country to country. “In France, I have occasionally been told that celebrating successes is simply not part of the culture”, Frenay says. “We don’t really

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Mind your change According to various recent corporate studies, only 30% of all change programmes are successful. Why is that? Or more importantly: how you can ensure that your programme is a success? The answer is closer than you think. In fact, you are part of it. That’s right: the people in your company. They are the most important success factor that determines whether your change programme succeeds or fails. But how do you make sure that they will help you reach your goals? At a time when changes are occurring rapidly one right after the other, you will have to improve continuously in order to stay ahead of the competition. Programmes such as Lean, TPM and 6 Sigma can provide the ideal tools to help you. However, you run the risk of placing too much focus on the technical side of these improvement philosophies. Which is exactly one of the most major pitfalls that results in only one-third of these change programmes proving successful – despite having a solid strategy, clear KPIs (key performance indicators) and insight into where losses lie. Moreover, once a programme has failed, it is difficult to try again. You can hear them sighing already: “more change, something new again.”

People are the key to success

The most important Critical Success Factor (CSF) in your organisation is your people! They determine the rate of success for improvement and change programmes. “But”, you are about to say, “this is nothing new.” True, and yet the people side of organisations is nevertheless underestimated time and time again. Blom Consultancy not only supports and facilitates in implementing the technical aspects of continuous improvement programmes, but we also specialis in change management, culture change and internal communication. What’s more, we have harmonised three crucial components – people, process and environ12

ment – into what we call ‘World Class Performance, the Blom Way’. This strategy is used to develop a corporate culture in which people can make optimum contributions towards meeting company objectives.

People determine the culture

But hang on; what exactly is a corporate culture? The word culture comes from cultura and dates back to the Romans, who used the term in agri cultura (working the land to get it to produce), for example. So you can think of a corporate culture as how people work in a company and how that company produces. We can best describe the term as a collection of group habits, beliefs, behaviour, rules and manners. Consider the way in which everyone does their job, and how people work together. The style of management is likewise a deciding factor in your corporate culture.

Culture: the soul of a company

Cultures supposedly make up the soul of a company. Yet at the same time they are incredibly intangible and difficult to influence. Supervisors are often tasked with creating a ‘resultsoriented’ or ‘professional’ culture. But what exactly does this mean? And does everyone in the organisation perceive it same way? If not, how is this dealt with? If so, how does the company go from the current to the preferred culture? How can we describe our current cul-

ture? How do the executives, the management team, the supervisors and the employees experience the culture and style of leadership?


Everyone brings their own personal values, standards, ideas and beliefs into an organisation. These determine our mindset and are expressed in our actions – also in the workplace. The ways in which we work, supervise, take orders and communicate are all determined by our personal way of thinking. Supervisors serve as examples to others in the organisation, and consequently their behaviour has a major influence on how the corporate culture is formed, tolerated and, if necessary, adjusted.

Changing mindset: from the top down

Prior to and during the change process, the company’s executives at the top level indicate which elements of the old corporate culture must go and which elements will be the main focus of the new corporate culture. Breaking out of the ‘waiting culture’ hinges on who takes the first step, who takes the next step and when, and who does not and why. Who sets who in motion? Who sets the correct example? Who creates enthusiasm, motivates and activates everyone? Which approach does this the most effectively? In order to successfully start and proceed with a cultural shift, it is essential to have role models in the company.

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- change your mind Executive staff members, management team members and supervisors from every department are the most appropriate individuals to assume this function. They play a crucial role in creating circumstances and conditions in which people dare to discuss their behaviour, openly and willingly. In other words, in this case a top down approach is recommended.

Does your company need a cultural shift?

Imagine: your organisation is in the middle of a challenging change process, or is about to implement a programme such as TPM, LEAN or 6-Sigma. People are going to have to release their old patterns and learn a new way of working. You, your MT, the supervisors and the entire staff have your work cut out for you. In addition to everything that must be done in terms of optimising skills and acquiring new knowledge, in many cases changes must also be made with respect to mindset, behaviour, mentality and corporate culture in order to arrive at World Class Performance. In addition, generally speaking a cultural shift is recommended if you notice the following things in your company: - Not every individual is committed to the departmental and company goals. - The win-win situation is unclear. Both employer and employee should have an unambiguous answer to the question “What’s in it for us? What’s in it for me?” - There is confusion regarding departmental and company goals. - Leadership style and effect are not as good as they could be. - Not every individual is pursuing the mission. Company mission versus personal mission. - The mentality of ‘caring about the company’ is absent. - Absenteeism is high. - Employee turnover is high. - There is a lot of negative feedback. How do you achieve a cultural shift? 13

The current situation in your company allows us to determine exactly where and how to begin. For example, should we start with TPM on the shop floor and top-down mindset training courses, or should we start with the culture scan in order to shed light on the overall situation in the company? Using the Blom Way, we achieve the right harmony between people, processes and environment so that we can take the fastest and most sustainable path towards World Class Performance. For specific internal problems or challenges Blom offers support with: Culture change • Culture scans • Culture analyses and supervisory programmes • Team/department culture and mentality training courses • Objectives and culture alignment Communication • Communication skills • Presentation techniques • Conflict resolution • Leadership style • Communication flows; top down, bottom up and lateral Mindset Coaching • Coaching, geared towards eliminating counterproductive opinions in the mindset and developing the desired attitude and competencies. This method of coaching ensures that participants get more out of themselves.

What kind of companies can use Blom Leading Change (mindset training and coaching)? Companies that know that harmony (‘the Blom way’) between people, processes and environment is crucial, and: • that want to work on personal development and not just on process and environment change; • in which the person behind the employee counts; • that are prepared to do everything in order to reach the desired outcome; • that believe in themselves and their employees; • that want to know precisely where the challenges lie and improvements can be made with respect to both individual and interpersonal cooperation, and therefore want to determine on the one hand how the ‘birds in the trees’ – i.e. executives and management – experience the culture and, on the other, how the ‘fish in the pond’ – the employees – experience it, and what they need in order to be able to do the very best job they possibly can. Blom Consultancy BV can design a customised approach for every problem and challenge you may encounter in this area. Possible steps include: conducting a culture scan, a working style assessment test, a supervision assessment test, individual coaching, communication training courses, team building, motivation training courses and more.

The ideal . . . (fill in job title) VOICE 38 %

Loud, soft, high, low, slow, fast





Thoughts, beliefs, values and standards


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task-oriented to

process-oriented in less than two years Stork Food Systems gets results with World Class Performance In 2006, Stork PMT B.V started its branches in Boxmeer and Dongen (NL) on a continuous improvement programme. The mother group, Stork, was navigating troubled waters at the time; there were rumours of a takeover by a group of investors who threatened to split the group up into small, easily saleable parts. Stork needed to improve its results and boost its figures to make the idea of a sale as unappealing as possible, and so the group dictated that the business units had to start working with Six Sigma. Today, two years later, Stork Food Systems has been taken over by Marel Food Systems and is doing well. This is due in part to the continuous improvement programme that now, along with Six Sigma, also contains elements of Lean and TPM. “We call it World Class Performance” say the programme’s proud recipients. 14

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Fred Vijverstra (Director of Manufacturing), Paul Moeling (Production Unit Manager) and Doede Okkema (WCP Facilitator) are enthusiastic, to put it mildly, about the results they have achieved to date. “We now have an empty, clean factory, less stock and our efficiency has climbed by 10%”, says Moeling, responsible for the plant in Dongen, about the results achieved with a year and a half of WCP. He goes on to say “But probably the most important change is that we now think in processes rather than in tasks.” By this he means that employees have realised their work goes beyond just their own specific area. “It’s about the company as a whole. Their work is part of a larger, value-adding process. Those who understand this and then work towards continual improvement not only help themselves, but help the entire organisation.” That is most definitely a major achievement, especially in such a short timeframe, but how did they achieve so much so quickly? Vijverstra, responsible for both plants’ progress, says that he travelled to Japan for a study trip two years ago. “There they explained Lean’s basic concepts to us in a two week course”, he says. When Vijverstra returned, he couldn’t put the newly learned information directly to work. “It was partly due to Stork’s top management deciding that we had to work with Six Sigma, so initially we looked for a way to mix the two: a sort of Lean Six Sigma, if you will.” Moeling explains further: “But that wasn’t the extent of it. We were looking for something different and came across Blom Consultancy. The thing about them that really appealed to us is they can really get people involved. Plus Blom’s World Class Performance concept offered a lot of practical tools we could use right away.” There was of course some resistance at the beginning. “We had already undergone quite a few improvement programmes during our time as Stork. We’ve been introducing various measures under the name Time Quality Costs (Tijd Kwaliteit Kosten, TKK) since the 1980s but they were often oriented more towards interpersonal


cooperation and not so much towards production processes”, says Dongen’s Production Unit Manager. “We heard a lot of ‘yet another new plan, even more work’” adds Vijverstra. “So then you need to take a top down approach and say: we’re going to do this. And I have to say that everyone then went along with it 100%.” And this was how WCP got its start. “We started cautiously with 5S – or 6S actually, because we added another S for safety”, says Okkema. “We gave people a day of theory first, then they got to work in Dongen and Boxmeer.” Moeling: “We included the production departments and the assembly departments as well as the indirect departments such purchasing in the introduction. And incidentally, we didn’t call it 5S or 6S or even WCP, but DOEN (Do it)! – an abbreviation for DOngen Eerste klas Nu (Dongen First Class Now)!” The 6S introduction was an immediate success. The work spaces not only look much cleaner, we’ve reduced our stock and our efficiency is increased. And we have formulated more than 250 suggestions for improvement. With well-earned pride, Moeling tells that all these suggestions for improvement were processed by mid-June 2008. This successful start cleared the way for other changes and methods. “We started the 5S introduction pretty much simultaneously with Value Stream Mapping, Small Group Activities (SGA) and Policy Deployment”, Vijverstra reports. “Not exactly an easy task by the way, Policy Deployment. It takes a lot of time to make the translation to the shop floor.” “But”, continues Moeling, “now that we have started the actual deployment, we can see the advantages. You notice that people are happy because they have something to hold on to. It clarifies what is important for the company. It also clarifies for people on the shop floor what they influence within this framework: the turnaround times and the reliability of our deliveries for example.” “You also notice that the departments appear to have conflicting interests”, Vijverstra relates. “The purchasing department for example wants to buy

as cheap as possible, but the parts production department would much rather have quality. This contrast forces you to choose what is really important for the business right now.” Vijverstra believes that one of the beneficial outcomes of Policy Deployment is that they are now guided by KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) which provide far more insight into how things are actually going. These three gentlemen expect that Policy Deployment will generate a large number of suggestions for improvement. “That’s why many of the department heads have done an ‘SGA for Managers’ course. This allows issues that crop up to be dealt with and resolved immediately using SGA methods”, chips in Okkema. Stork PMT has a large number of activities that are waiting to be or already have been implemented within the company. We work with OEE and SMED, we’ve hung up improvement signs and we have set up extensive 6S audits (including interdepartmental audits). “Every Monday we hold an 6S discussion with all departments. We’re also still rolling out the 6S method in new departments. In non-production departments too, actually”, says Vijverstra. “Our HRM department, for example, was so enthused by what they saw in production and assembly that they wanted to do 6S too.” It might appear as if everything just

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naturally fell into place, but things are never that simple. “You need to pay constant attention”, says Moeling. “You still notice some resistance, especially from the departments that are not yet working with WCP”, Vijverstra continues. Nevertheless, the three men are happy with the results thus far. Okkema: “I would even go so far as to say that continuous improvement has become a real part of the production departments’ work. They come up with suggestions for improvements themselves, which shows commitment, and that in turn is a good foundation to build on.”

Stork Food Systems

The Stork Food Systems group currently consists of several operating companies: Stork PMT B.V., Stork Titan B.V., Stork Gamco Inc., Stork Townsend B.V., Stork Townsend Inc. and Stork Food Systems Maquinas Alimenticias Ltda. Stork started in the poultry processing industry in 1963. While expanding its existing production facilities in Boxmeer, Stork took over a local machine factory called “De Wiericke”. In addition to manufacturing products such as piping for ships, furnaces and extractor fans, it also performs installation and service jobs in the poultry processing industry.

Poultry division

Stork decided to maintain this installation and job service and at the same time look into the possibilities of expanding these activities. The European poultry processing industry was on the brink of mechanisation and automation at the time, and it resulted in the birth of Stork Poultry Division. Originally started as a separate activity within the Boxmeer-based Stork Textile and Paper division, the poultry branch experienced rapid growth. In 1975, Stork established an independent subsidiary under the name Stork PMT (Poultry processing Machinery and Technology).

Rapid expansion

One year later, Stork PMT decided to expand its activities to the United States, the biggest poultry market in the world. Stork took over the company Gainesville Machine Corporation, which was based in Gainesville, Georgia, and renamed it Stork Gamco. As a Stork PMT sister company it reached the status of the most important poultry processing equipment supplier in the United States. Stork PMT expanded further, which resulted in the move to a new building with large production halls, more office space and a well-equipped demo centre in 1985. The facilities have been expanded several times since.

Stork PMT today

Nowadays Stork PMT is the leading and trendsetting company in poultry processing equipment and systems. In addition to the Boxmeer plant, which Stork shares with its sister company Stork Titan, it also has a second production facility located in Dongen. As of May 2005, both Stork PMT and Stork Titan present themselves under the Stork Food Systems name.

Extensive representation world wide

In addition to the Dutch plants, Stork has two sister companies that supply the American continent. Stork Food Systems USA (Stork Gamco´s new name as of May 2005) takes care of the North American, Central American and half of South America’s markets. The other half of South America is covered by the Brazilian facility, Stork Food Systems Máquinas Alimentícias Ltda. Stork Food Systems’ sales and service centres are located in all parts of the world and are supported by an extensive network of selected agents and representatives.

Additions to the Stork Food Systems group

In April 2006 a new member joined the Stork Food Systems group: Townsend Engineering which was renamed Stork Townsend. Townsend, with offices in Oss, the Netherlands, and Des Moines, IA, USA, develops and produces specialised equipment for the meat processing industry. In January 2007, Stork acquired Nijal S.A.S. Based in France, Nijal manufactures machines for processing meat that complement those owned by Stork Food Systems. In September 2007, Stork acquired related further processing products and developments from Proval B.V. The company expanded Stork´s previous capabilities significantly, especially in relation to pork and beef processing.


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Defining what and how at every level

While many people switch off at the word ‘software’, the right software can deliver immeasurable benefits to your business. Software like our innovative web-based application, The Business Hub, which provides greater visibility of performance whether it’s used as a stand alone solution or a business-wide, multi-level application. Of course it must all start with a coherent strategy. The Business Hub will help you to make your strategy coherent and to identify any gaps. It will enable you to create a hierarchy of cockpits that are the vehicles for deploying your business objectives. These cockpits provide the key information that will become the backbone of your management process.



The goal of The Business Hub is to create insight into strategy at each level in your organisation. This insight consists of your vision, mission and up-to-date organisation objectives - thus enabling you to adjust your organisation’s focus if necessary.


Setting out a Strategy is not easy. Deploying it so all your employees have the same understanding and cooperate together to achieve their targets is just plain hard to do. The Business Hub, a web-based application, can do much to assist you in this.


By using the very accessible user interface, your employees are given an environment where they can bring their own strategies to life, strategies which are in turn based the strategy you deployed. When the relationship with the company’s goals becomes clear to them, your employees’ engagement will be triggered: the key to success!

World Class Performance Making the impossible happen Every organisation wants to be the best - the best in its group, the best of the sector, the best in the country, the best in the world. But what does being the best mean? And if you are better than your competitor, is that enough and can you sit back and relax?


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and all were regarded as crazy. But with the wisdom of hindsight, we can say that many of their dreams have come true. The saying “Where there is a will, there is a way” is founded on experience. Or as George Parker, author of “The Big Book of Creativity”, says: “Where there is a will, a way will be found”. And this way, the way to World Class Performance, can be built with 7 building blocks. Building block 1: Create ambition A road has a destination; in this case an ambition. What is your ambition? Where do you want to be headed? Towards becoming World Class? It is not just the destination that is important: the stops along the way, the milestones, must also be clear. The more clearly you can define the first milestone, the easier it will be to reach it. For example:

Blom Consultancy helps organisations on the road to World Class Performance. A company is World Class if all the activities that take place in the organisation add value in the eyes of the stakeholders (this means not just your customers, but also your financers, your personnel, your suppliers and your business environment). In a World Class environment, the interests of every stakeholder are 100% satisfied. An organisation that does nothing that does not add value. Utopia? Perhaps, but it is certainly something to dream about, isn’t it? And there is no progress without dreams. Da Vinci, Columbus, Jules Verne, Martin Luther King, Kennedy and even Bill Gates had dreams 19

A group of adventurers was on the way to Eldorado. From the top of a mountain, they saw their destination shining in the distance and started out in good spirits. Then their route took them through a thick forest. Evening was falling, it was growing colder and the mist was coming down. To start with, everyone kept walking, the atmosphere was relaxed and the leader showed the way. But the mist gradually became thicker and thicker. People could no longer see their own feet. Some became uncertain and began to stumble. Progress became slower. The mist grew even thicker and rose higher. Questions were asked: “How much further is it? Are we still on the right path? Why do we actually want to go to that place, which may not be as attractive as we thought?” Eventually, the group came to a standstill. They could no longer see their hands in front of their faces and had no confidence in success. It would be better to wait until the mist disappeared. Some even wanted to turn back. Until someone said, “If we stay standing here we will all get cold. There is no room to pitch our tents. Eldorado is still far away, but the end of this forest is close by. If we can get out

of the forest tonight, then we can go on to Eldorado tomorrow morning with a clear view. Then at the end of the day, we can enjoy food, warmth and good company and the gold that is waiting for us there. If we each put our hands on the shoulders of the person in front of us and the man in front works his way from tree to tree, by alternately touching a tree on the right and then on the left, then we will get out of this forest in the quickest possible way.” All the members of the expedition wanted to get out of the frightening forest and thought this was a good idea. After a few hours, they left the forest and were able to rest, relieved and happy. The next day, when the sun came up, they saw Eldorado in all its glory shining on the horizon. Even those who had wanted to turn back the previous night now had enough energy to continue on their way. The moral of this story is that just having a vision is not enough. Defining milestones ensures that focus and direction are created and maintained in an organisation. Building block 2: Making waste visible The destination and the milestones may be clear, but this does not yet mean that the road has been laid. There are still a few obstacles to be removed. These obstacles, the difference between the present situation and the desired situation, are also known as waste (or Muda in Japanese). Waste has various causes, but is manifested in the same way in every process. Once you know how to identify it, you will see it everywhere. There are seven types of waste1: 1. Defects (the output of the process is not satisfactory); 2. Reprocessing (the output of the process needs reprocessing); 3. Waiting (the process is at a standstill, because it is waiting for materials, people or information to be provided); 4. Stock (the output of the process is at a standstill in a warehouse or other stock location); 5. Monitoring (there is not 100% confidence in a good result); 6. Over-processing (or ‘gold plating’,

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the performance delivered is more than is actually necessary); 7. Movement (moving products, people and materials without extra value being added. If this waste is eliminated, the objective will be a step closer. The first step in eliminating this waste is to make it visible. Various techniques can be used for this: OEE measurements, Value Stream Mapping, Balanced Score Card, etc. The waste must first be visible so that everyone will recognise it and it can be eliminated.

Building block 3: Structured improvement in teams When the waste is clearly visible, we can eliminate it together with the people who are active in the process. After all, waste is not created out of nothing, but has all sorts of causes. At the root of many of these causes is what the Japanese describe as mura and muri. Mura is the imbalance, lack of uniformity in the processes; extremes of activity alternated with idling. This leads to muri, or overload of people and machines. And this overload leads to Muda (waste). If all those involved look together at the problem and/or the waste, we can obtain a clearer, completer pic-


ture of the problem. This improvement team can then find the fundamental causes of the problem, leading to the definition of lasting solutions that will be accepted by everyone and which will prevent sub-optimisation. Building brick 4: Processorientated organisation A few years ago, a road in Breda (NL) was renovated. To start with, the paving was replaced by asphalt, to reduce the noise nuisance to the local residents. Two weeks later, the road was dug up

again: the drains had to be replaced. After another two weeks, the road was opened up for the third and last time to lay extra cables. Altogether, the work on the road took longer than was really necessary, cost more than necessary and it caused more frustration and incomprehension on the part of the residents. If the renovation had been process-orientated rather than function-orientated, making use of the knowledge of each person involved, the nuisance caused by this road renovation would have been much reduced. In the road renovation example, the word “process-orientated� was used.

On the way to World Class Performance, an organisation’s activities will become more and more process-orientated. Process-orientated means rather than focusing on the functions of the employees within the organisation, focusing on the processes. Every process revolves around a physical product or a service. To create this product, we need employees to have different knowledge and skills, which together ensure that the process runs smoothly and effectively. It is important to follow the process in such a way that learning and adjustment can take place during the process. Research by the Frauenhofer Institut has shown that companies that introduce innovations and optimise their business processes are most successful in maintaining their competitive position. Building block 5: Agreeing on uniform ways of working An important building block for the road to World Class Performance is formed by the agreements on how we carry out our work. These agreements, also known as standards, are the foundation for further improvement. Standards give reassurance by means of clarity, but their existence is only justified until the moment that a new, better standard appears. Good standards ensure that the best way is also the easiest way. The easiest way is to ensure that there is only 1 way, which is known as poka yoke. An example of this is a tunnel under a railway so that cars and trains cannot collide. A less coercive form of standardisation is the active indicators in the workplace. Think, for example, of the lights and alarm bells at a level crossing that come into operation when a train is approaching. The least coercive form of standardisation is static indicators such as written procedures, but also, for example, the traffic sign at the side of the road telling drivers that they are approaching a level crossing. Building block 6: Enforcing standards Having a good standard is no guarantee that it will be used. How often does it happen that, if we discuss a particular problem with personnel, they say that

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the problem has been examined few years previously and that a solution already exists? Unfortunately, the solution is often unknown to many people and becomes forgotten. The solutions have not been enforced or embedded in the organisation, so that we keep reinventing the wheel. We therefore need to pay attention to enforcing standards, so that the result of our efforts is permanent. For there is nothing more frustrating and discouraging than, after having made great efforts to solve a problem, seeing performance drop back down again not much later. Building block 7: Making successes visible The last building block is often forgotten in our Western world: making success visible. “Improvement is part of

your work” is a comment that is often heard. Of course improvement is part of your work, but that does not mean that no attention should be paid to the result. After all, paying attention to things makes them grow. If we only pay attention to the negative things (“why did this go wrong?”), we will end up in a downward spiral and improvement will become more and more difficult. Remember the following: everyone wants to belong to a winning team. By building the road to World Class Performance with these seven building blocks, we can bring about change in the culture of the organisation. This change is that people believe that perfection is possible, experience ownership, feel safe, use their knowledge and consider themselves valuable. The leaders in an organisation are the ones who ‘catalyse’ this change process. They are the people the organisation looks to, the people who set the example and who are the source of confidence. If they radiate assurance and confidence

and create an organisation in which people help each other in a processorientated manner, if they ensure that the work is carried out and improved on an atmosphere of calmness and regularity that is conducive to learning, the probability of success is high. On the road to World Class Performance, the knowledge and skills of those involved grow and so does their sense of ownership. The environment becomes more and more supportive of the work. Processes become simpler and more robust and link together better. All this leads to increased customer satisfaction and lower costs. These improvements are the driving force behind becoming a continuously improving organisation, which eventually leads to World Class Performance. World Class Performance: It is possible!

1. This classification of waste is a variation on the 7 types of waste defined by Taiichi Ohno of Toyota, although it should be noted that Ohno himself said that he had never defined 7.


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Despite the wealth of knowledge we have to offer, Blom Consultancy certainly doesn’t claim to know everything. That is why we are keen to develop knowledge and experience in cooperation with other parties. Blom works and shares knowledge with a range of partners, whom we also offer access to our own resources. All our partners are renowned companies with their own specific areas of expertise. Below you will find a brief overview of what these companies do and how (and in which areas) we cooperate with them.

JIPM-S Blom Consultancy is proud to be working with Japanese firm JIPM Solutions. These experts operate on a global scale, focusing mainly on TPM and the systems needed to keep machines breakdown free. For years now, Blom Consultancy and its partners JIPM-S and TPM Solutions have been organising study trips to the country where TPM first flourished. However, our cooperation does not stop there: it also allows us to offer 22

customers direct access to the source of all TPM-related knowledge. JMA JIPM-S is part of the Japan Management Association Group (or JMA Group). JMA was originally established by the Japanese government in 1942 with a view to promoting management efficiency. Today, JMA operates around the world as a management consultant specialising in ISO audits, system studies and development, HR development and training and production efficiency.

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and working The group also organises many major conferences, both in Japan and overseas. Legal separation In 2004, a new law on the non-domestic activities of non-profit organisations came into effect in Japan. In response, JIPM-S was separated from the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance, an organisation operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, in 2005. The institute’s consultancy, publishing and seminar activities were brought together under the umbrella of JIPM Solutions. This offshoot - which has retained both the services of its original consultants and its existing customer base - has since gone from strength to strength. For more information on JIPM-S, please visit CETPM Blom Consultancy cooperates closely with the Centre of Excellence for TPM (CETPM), a knowledge institution based in Germany that specialises in TPM. CETPM is a non-profit organisation and is part of the Ansbach University of Applied Sciences. CETPM’s areas of focus include: • propagating TPM (Total Productive Management) across Europe, • TPM-related research and education, • further development of TPM, • supporting businesses in their implementation of TPM. A range of leading German TPM experts ensure a high standard of knowledge, while several of our consultants also offer training in their respective areas of expertise. In the brief period since its establishment, CETPM has grown to become the leading European consultant in the area of TPM. CETPM offers: • Seminars • Conferences



• Workshops • Publications • Communication with experts • Online community • A global network For more information on CETPM, please visit SA Partners Our collaboration partners also include SA Partners. Together, we support customers operating in various European countries, such as Corus. However, our cooperation does not stop there. One example of our joint efforts is the development of The Business Hub. This software programme was specially designed to support businesses in the process of strategy deployment. SA Partners is the UK’s longest-standing Lean Enterprise consultancy and was originally formed in 1993 to transfer the lessons learned from the pioneering research of Professor Peter Hines from the Lean Enterprise Research Centre into the marketplace. This work was so successful that SA Partners has significantly increased its services, coverage and size. SA Partners is an innovative consultancy that inspires a wide range of businesses to raise their game through the application of Lean Principles. It challenges customers to find fresh and creative ways of operating, and then facilitates, coaches and mentors – customers are responsible for making the changes themselves, but SA Partners supports, enables and encourages them at every stage from the initial diagnosis to the final implementation. The result is practical improvements for both the business and everyone working in it, which creates leaner, keener and more successful enterprises. SA Partners specialises in processes, whether business processes, group working processes, thinking processes or any other process that develops people and business.

LERC Het Lean Enterprise Research Centre (LERC) is a leading organisation in the area of Lean. LERC is based in Cardiff (Wales) but is well-known throughout the world of Lean. Blom Consultancy is currently working to develop a certification system in collaboration with LERC. LERC’s activities can be split into three areas 1. Research 2. Executive education 3. Innovation and engagement Philosophy While it may be too strong a statement to claim that LERC has a tightly defined philosophy advocated by its staff, there is a general approach and sentiment shared by its members, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds, disciplines and schools of thought. LERC’s approach has a number of features: • It takes a broad definition of the term ‘lean thinking’ – viewing it as more of a philosophy than a set of tools, encompassing all key business processes and requiring an important linkage with organisational strategy. • Lean is mainly concerned with enhancing customer or stakeholder value and releasing or creating capacity for growth; it is not just a cost reduction toolkit concerned with waste removal. • The definition of lean thinking will continue to evolve as its use spreads through a wide range of organisations, and LERC will continue to challenge and question its applicability therein. • It is important to link lean practice with academic theory, while at the same time ensuring that lean knowledge is utilised and applied by managers for the benefit of their organisations and society as a whole.

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The full facts about F FullFact is a fast-expanding software development company that develops productivity solutions for the

Pro d uc ti v it y S olut ions

manufacturing sector. As many as 400 manufacturing companies operating in a broad range of industries use our tools to boost productivity. Our customers include Boeing, Texas Instruments, Paccar, Heinz, Numico, Campina, Glaxo Smith Kline and many more. Learn who we are and what we have to offer.


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Peter Gatzen and Arno Bouten started FullFact in 2004 and it has grown over the past few years into the professional company it is today, with a powerful team of 14 people. Our development department’s job is to take our standard products to the next level and to develop new tools. They can even build to customer-specific requirements. Our implementation experts can help you implement our tools - a service that is fast becoming standard. We can deliver turn-key projects complete with an improvement consultant, technical support and even the necessary hardware. FullFact’s core business is to sell and distribute the software used to improve programs such as Six Sigma, Lean and TPM. Our tools accelerate improvement by turning losses, goals and performance into visual stimuli.

What we offer


Working with FullFact means you are delivered the right information clearly, uniformly and visually, which helps focus the attention of every level in the organisation. The standard best-inbreed and easy-to-implement products are called OEE Toolkit and The Business Hub. OEE Toolkit helps you visualise your hidden factory and focus on the facts. The Business Hub will help you make your strategy coherent and identify gaps. It will enable you to create a hierarchy of cockpits that are the

vehicles for deploying your business objectives. These cockpits provide key information that will become the backbone of your management process. 1. Relevant FACTS 2. Clear VISUALISATION 3. Loss AWARENESS 4. Shop floor OWNERSHIP By managing your company with these four FullFact key success factors, you can create flow in the change process, root out resistance and improve productivity.

Working across the globe

FullFact’s tools have been implemented all over the world, from SMEs to multinationals. To offer support for this global customer base, FullFact has established a productivity alliance of implementation and consultation partners in Belgium, Brazil, China, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, the USA and the UK. If you have any questions about our tools or want an on-site presentation, FullFact’s sales team will be happy to help you understand the added value our tools can provide.


FullFact originates from Blom Consultancy. During its 16 years of providing manufacturing companies with training, coaching and advice, Blom Consultancy has transformed numerous ideas into fully-fledged products which, up until the end of 2004, were developed and marketed by Blom Consultancy. To provide both its existing and new customers with even better service and to be able to respond to market needs, FullFact has been offering Productivity Solution products since its creation in 2004. 25

Peter Gatzen, Ton Aerdts and Arno Bouten

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Gaining insight into



Add Power to Your Productivity OEE Toolkit is a product of FullFact


Leading - to World Class Per formance


Implementing WCP at Saint-Gobain/Isover Germany Or: How to become a world champion In Germany, Isover, which is part of the Saint-Gobain Insulation Division, is represented by four production sites: Bergisch-Gladbach, Ladenburg, Lübz and Speyer. In late 2007, the Speyer production site became the pilot plant and started implementing WCP. We met with Mr Hans-Jürgen Kolbenschlag (chairman of the Speyer works council) and Mr Michael Lehr (head of the Engineering and Maintenance department) to discuss the implementation of this pilot project. A candid conversation! “WCP means workplace security!” Now, that gets right to the point! This opinion belongs to Hans-Jürgen Kolbenschlag, chairman of the works council. In 2007, management informed Kolbenschlag that WCP would be introduced at Saint-Gobain, as well as throughout Isover worldwide. At Isover Germany the choice was made to designate Speyer as the pilot plant. Kolbenschlag is happy that the works 27

council and therefore the entire staff were informed about the objectives of WCP right from the start. “At Speyer there has always been honest and constructive communication between the works council and management. That has definitely been the case here. Generally speaking, employees assume that the introduction of yet another new improvement programme means the reduction of jobs. With the introduction

of WCP we were given insight into the how and why by taking a very practical look at a new division of Saint-Gobain: British Plasterboard.”

Collective goals

The works council chairman continues: “Prior to the takeover by Saint-Gobain, this chain had successfully implemented a WCP programme and by talking to the workers on the shop floor we

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gained a clear picture of what exactly that entailed. The idea is to use the staff’s collective knowledge in order to eliminate losses as well as to bring out the best in each employee.” Not everyone at Speyer was as enthused. “A 5S programme was successfully introduced several years ago. However, only the employees in the production department in question were involved. Employees in other departments actually had no idea what was going on. Fast forwarding to the present, we see that certain things have started to lag.” According to Kolbenschlag it was vitally important to involve every department at Speyer in the introduction of WCP. “Because every department was striving to meet its own individual goals, in some cases we were working against rather than with each other. By consolidating goals and communicating with one another we arrived at collective goals.”

Base of support and acceptance

By also compling the improvement teams so as to insure that every department involved was represented, we increased the base of support and acceptance enormously.” The latter was a condition laid down by the works council. Kolbenschlag: “Involving employees from all of our departments and from every level of the organisation allowed the works council to express its confidence in the WCP programme. Now, six months later, if you look at the actions that have been carried out we are very impressed with the work that has already been accomplished by the various improvement groups.” Of course, not everything always comes off without a hitch. A number of things were required in order to get the programme to click with employees.

Champions League

Kolbenschlag: “Formulating a single goal, plain language, cooperation and creating understanding for one another were all essential. We formulated the object of WCP at Speyer thus: we want to become the world champion!” Comparing the factory to a soccer team in a tournament allowed them to explain to workers where they stood as a company and where they wanted to go. Kolbenschlag: “Nobody wants to be demoted out of Germany’s Bundesliga. At the end of the day all of us want to play in the Champions League. But you should be aware of where you stand as opposed to your competitors, both internally and externally.” Using this sports analogy helped employees realise that WCP could in fact help them win the Champions League. Kolbenschlag: “We realised that WCP can ultimately help us protect jobs at Speyer!”

The solution does not come from the boss

When asked what WCP has meant to him personally over the past six months, Kolbenschlag replies: “Cause/ effect analysis is vital. It is incredible what kind of solutions can be generated by a small improvement team as long as the structure is followed. The striking thing is that most solutions do not come from the boss; they come from the workers on the floor. This is exactly what we want to accomplish with WCP. In addition, it is a huge success that the employees in the improvement groups instruct their coworkers and show them the outcome of their solutions. This quickly leads to acceptance. Something else that simply cannot be emphasised enough is that you must compliment your employees on their achievements.”

“WCP is nothing new...”

Michael Lehr, head of the Engineering and Maintenance department for both the day and swing shifts, does not mince words. “In the past few years at Speyer we did 5S and then we worked with TPM. The problem is that these programmes were initiated with great enthusiasm, only to become overshadowed by other priorities. When 28

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the announcement came that we were going to implement WCP I was extremely sceptical. Given past experiences, I was biased.”

Plan Do Check Act

Nevertheless, Lehr is convinced that continuous improvement makes sense. Lehr: “Although there are certain things which we have not standardised or secured equally well, we have consistently seen that anytime a group of workers set out to tackle a problem they always managed to quickly and effectively get a result. The downside was that in many cases they looked to their own department. Our solution for our problem could cause a problem for another department.” The “lack of trust” among participants quickly became evident during the first workshop. However, the mistrust soon turned into enthusiasm. Lehr: “80% of the participants during the introduction workshop had participated in an improvement programme the year before. Most of us thought, ‘here we go again...’ But this time, thanks to the group arrangement, the innovative approach using simulation exercises, practice, trying it ourselves, the open discussions about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ and the role of the supervisor really got us fired up as a group. Especially when we saw that we could become the world champion. We thought, ‘hey, this Plan Do Check Act structure could very well help us.’”

Magic words

When asked what he finds most appealing, Lehr responds directly: “The principles of WCP and Dr. Demming’s improvement circle (Plan Do Check Act) have several things in common. But for us, the magic words are

standardisation and securing solutions or working methods. By doing what we have agreed and making sure that everyone is clear on this, we can make great strides towards achieving our goal of becoming world champion.” Lehr is now the group leader of an improvement group tasked with resolving a problem between production and his department. “We used to always think that production caused our problem. And production undoubtedly thought the same about us. Choosing the group members to make sure that all parties would be represented on every level led to very open and honest discussions in which there was understanding for everyone’s problems. Consequently, both sides gained understanding and acceptance, which has significantly increased the sense of ownership among everyone involved.”

Michael Lehr

Results already visible

Lehr agrees that complimenting employees can have an unexpected effect. Lehr: “We seldom pay employees compliments. But by experiencing firsthand what it feels like to have your boss tell you that you have done a good job makes it very clear that sincere compliments drastically increase ownership, involvement and enjoyment on the job. And WCP helped us see this.” When asked whether WCP has had any effect on his daily work, he answers: “One of the solutions presented by one of the improvement groups is that I personally need to invest a considerable amount of energy into providing daily feedback to employees in the various departments. While this takes more energy now, it is already paying off, too, thus making it a win-win situation for everyone!”

Hans-Jürgen Kolbenschlag

He adds: “By implementing WCP and with my role as a team member of one improvement team and the leader of another, WCP has presented me with a new challenge. It allows me to develop and to fill my toolbox with all sorts of methods and techniques. And I have insight into how you can interact with employees constructively. That will certainly come in handy in the future!” In closing, Lehr sums it up this way: “WCP is nothing new, but it helps me achieve Isovar’s goals as well as my own.”

Isover is the main worldwide brand of Saint-Gobain’s Insulation Division. Saint-Gobain has more than 1,200 consolidated companies and over 182,800 employees with industrial locations in more than 47 countries. The business divisions include Insulation along with Building Materials, Pipe, Ceramics and Plastics, Abrasives, Reinforcements, Flat Glass, Containers and Building Distribution. Saint-Gobain Group Insulation Division operations include glass wool (TEL process), stone wool, ceilings, and foams (developed in partnership with major chemical companies). Insulation solutions are marketed as rolls, panels or moulded insulation. Products are mainly designed for the building market as well as industrial applications, transport and household appliances.


Leading - to World Class Per formance



Implementing TPM in the west Requires knowledge and care

The classic TPM, based on the work of Seiichi Nakajima (1), was developed in Japan after the Second World War. It was TPM that created the Japanese ‘Economic Miracle’ and in that sense was also Lean’s parent. Western companies started implementing these sorts of continuous improvement programmes at the start of the 1990s, but TMP’s implementation in the West did not appear to run as smoothly as it did in Japan. We asked one of the TPM experts from Blom Consultancy, Mario Marchena, about the reasons for this and whether this characterisation is in fact true.

Marchena worked till 1996 as an operations manager at Calvé in Delft (NL) before he joined Blom in 2006. “Calvé was part of Unilever Nederland, which formed a part of Unilever Foods Europe. On a European level we had already been working to increase the factories’ efficiency. The margarine factories were leading the way. In the factory in Delft, we tried to apply the MANS and Sociotech philosophies. MANS stands for Management en Arbeid Nieuwe Stijl (New Style Management and Labour), which was inspired by the Sociotech and was especially successful in the USA and Scandinavia. The MANS Foundation, established in 1983, had the goal of making W.E. Deming and J. Juran’s (4) way of thinking available to Dutch businesses.” As a part all these new initiatives, Calvé experimented with Autonomous Task Groups and Self-Directing Teams. “And despite us doing our very best to convert this knowledge into practical measures”, says Marchena, “the effect on our utilisation and our efficiency was barely noticeable.” At the same time, their Japanese colleagues at Nippon Lever were having success. Three factories for Foods, Home and Personal Care had successfully made significant improvements with what they called TPM. They were supported in the process by specialists from JIPM, the Japanese Institute of Plant Mainte31

nance (nowadays JIPM-Solutions). How did Mario Marchena find out that his colleagues at Nippon Lever seemed to have found the right answer? “Unilever is a multinational in which knowledge sharing happens at an international level. JTG (Japan Technology Group), a Unilever department there that keeps track of and evaluates new Japanese developments, is responsible for this exchange. Unilever Europe Group was rather preoccupied with the ‘Make or Buy Question’ - should we produce all of the products we sell ourselves? That was rather a threatening question for Unilever Nederland’s factories. It awoke our drive to survive, which meant we were ready to start looking outside for help. What I retained from our search for improvement methods and tools was a deep-rooted faith in ideas and movements like Empowerment, of people on all levels, especially on the shop floor. When we came into contact with TPM through JTG, I felt the click immediately. The philosophy appealed to me, plus the programme also offered a pragmatic implementation plan. ‘This is really something we could implement!’ I said to myself.” The rest of Unilever reacted very positively to Japan’s success. So positively, in fact, they decided at the corporate le-

vel to start working with JIPM. “Kunio Shirose (5) himself, one of JIPM’s vice presidents, became our leading person and it was him who led Unilever’s worldwide support team. In the course of that job he also paid a visit to the Netherlands. In the mean time I was given the opportunity to transfer to the ‘Unilever TPM Promotion and Implementation Team’ and so I moved from Calvé Delft to the Central Manufacturing and Engineering Group. In the beginning I was pretty much a pioneer, but we also learned a lot from JIPM like: how to build up TPM capabilities within Unilever, how to give TPM training courses, how to guide the current management in the implementation process and how to implement TPM on the shop floor.” These actions lead to dozens of Unilever factories winning TPM Awards between 1996 and 2006. Two factories in Europe have even reached the World Class level: the Lipton Tea factory in Brussels and the ice cream factory in Naples. According to Mario Marchena, how has TPM developed these past ten years? “TPM itself has stayed the same at its core but the environment in which we need to implement TPM has changed dramatically. Nowadays, people get a lot less time to run through the learning curves. A consequence of high

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pressure on financial performances is that everything must go faster, which presents a great danger. I have learned in the past 12 years that you must walk three paths when implementing TPM”, says 57-year old Marchena. “The first is improving the technical performance of the production process, resulting in a higher Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) (6). Second of all, you must invest in the individual employee’s knowledge, skills and attitude if you want to hang onto these results. An if you want to hang on to these results and want employees to the develop the quality of the organisation must improve significantly.” In Japanese factories the disciplined, team-oriented, harmonious culture provided enough basis. According to Marchena, “In this system, colleagues work together as a team, which automatically improves mutual cooperation. The production teams also have closer contact with each other, which then improves cooperation bit by bit. Eventually the entire organisation im32

proves as a whole and, as happened in Japan, in a quite autonomous fashion, due in part to their long history using Quality Circles.” So it is therefore simply a question of starting TPM and the rest will follow? “Well, if only that were true. This is exactly where we find the greatest differences between the East and the West”, Marchena admits. “In Japan, the team and organisational improvements took shape in an organic way, but that approach simply won’t fly in more individually-oriented cultures such as ours. In Europe, explicit attention must be paid to points 2 (investment in knowledge, skills and attitude) and 3 (the quality of the organisation). Especially to point 3.” This has been done in all Unilever factories that have received an award. “I didn’t check it afterwards, but I don’t mind stating the following: “in every factory where this did not happen we have not achieved sustainable success.”

Safety, Health & Environment

TPM in Support Departments

Quality Maintenance

Early Management

Training and Education

Planned Maintenance

Autonomous Maintenance

Focused Improvement


It goes without saying that implementing tools and techniques is quicker than improving people’s knowledge, skills and attitudes. It’s just as logical to say that individual employee improvement is easier to realise that improvements for an entire organisation. But it is precisely that last point, improving the quality of an organisation, that is the most important when dealing with the speed with which the permanent improvement of results is realised. The following quote from Seiichi Nakajima illustrates the point: “TPM is the making of products through the making of people”. He expands this position with his ‘Five Satisfactions’, referring to the customer, shareholder, employee, social and global satisfaction. If a modern company wants to guarantee its existence, then it is not sufficient to merely keep the customers and shareholders happy. According to Nakajima, it is just as important to give serious attention to personnel, the direct environment and societal themes. “This leads Europe into a very dangerous situation”, warns Marchena. “Be-

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cause if you choose speed, then you only reach for the low-hanging fruits leaving other great opportunities untouched. This leads to great losses in the long term. If you want to get the maximum amount of profit over the long term, then you need to invest in your organisation and your people right at the very start.”

as compared to the ideal way. Moreover, the advisor must guarantee a safe environment to experiment with new behaviour. He must also encourage and maintain mutual communication and, last but not least, he must always let people experience for themselves the link between results and the new way of cooperating.”

This is the kind of talk you would expect from some soft improvement guru, not a ‘hard operations man’. Marchena explains, “It might sound a bit soft, but it’s not, because you also need the hard TPM tools. Plus, the intended organisational development will result in a much more common focus on results. This is why it is essential in my current role as an external consultant that I teach my client how he himself can actualise his own continued improvement processes. Naturally I can offer quick help by teaching him a trick such as SMED (7), for example, but that’s not going to teach him the essence of TPM, and any results achieved will disappear once the external expert has disappeared.”

Blom plays an active role in the continued development of TPM. “Blom has an internal team of experts actively working on further developing TPM on the basis of the classic Nakajima TPM. Their goal is to make TPM in Europe just as successful as it is in Japan using the method described above. This team of experts comprises people who have learned their trade from the source, for example at Unilever, Heineken and Holland Automotive. Blom works in intensive cooperation with JIPM-Solutions and TPM Solutions International in a large international customer with factories in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. This client intends to win a JIPM Award for its factories within just a few years. In my view, this all guarantees TPM’s continued development, whereby the power and value stays at the Japanese level while it is made easier to apply in factories in our part of the world.”

TPM in Europe has, along with the content of TPM, mostly to do with the explicit development of people and organisation. “Yes, that’s right. And that’s why for me personally TPM, Empowerment, Autonomous Task Groups and Self Directing Teams overlap each other. In essence it’s about using the TPM methods, techniques and tools in combination with a common focus on the results. In practice this means: working with multidisciplinary improvement teams according to the Overlapping Small Group and the Kaizen Teams method. Because management will deal more with the creation of the right conditions than the content of these methods, they must focus on their management tasks and qualities. The operators and maintenance engineers will then learn to take responsibility for their own solutions. This will entail a re-shuffling of tasks and responsibilities throughout the entire organisation. The external advisor’s role here is always to make people aware of their current way of working 33

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Booklist: Seiichi Nakajima Introduction to TPM: Total Productive Maintenance Tokyo, 1988 ISBN: 0915299232 Phil Landesbeg In the Beginning, There Were Deming and Juran The Journal for Quality & Participation November, December 1999 Kunio Shirose TPM New Introduction Program in Fabrication and Assembly Industries Shigeo Shingo A Revolution in Manufacturing: The SMED System 1985, Productivity Press ISBN: 0915299038 Arno Koch OEE for the Production Team Lieshout, 2007, FullFact B.V. ISBN: 9078210085


Aviko Rixona strives for

excellence with TPM

Not a miracle cure, but eminently usable In 2005, Royal Cosun took over the Aviko Rixona Venray production facility from Nestlé. Rixona produces potato flakes and granules; up until that time especially for the ‘A’ brand Maggi. Under Cosun, the company devoted itself to a great diversity of private labels – an approach that proved quite successful. The question was, What next? How do we generate further growth in profitability? Should we concentrate on product innovation, or seek new markets? Or should we focus on quality improvement and cost savings in relation to current production? In mid 2007, Rixona opted for the latter choice by concentrating on operational excellence. The TPM continuous improvement strategy was chosen to achieve that goal. How did that choice pan out, slightly more than a year later?

”Switching from one A brand to multiple private labels forces you to increase your customer focus. And what our customers want above all is good products for the lowest possible price”, according to General Manager Otto van


der Gronden. “So we produced a vision that focuses especially on those two elements (quality and costs) and that may be summed up under the label of Operational Excellence.” A clear vision is all very well, but how can you make sure it will be implemented? “You could spend a lot of time thinking up a method yourself, but there are readymade instruments which have proved themselves to be more than adequate in practice. One such instrument is the business improvement philosophy TPM (Total Productive Manufacturing), which we have opted for.” Japan The TPM method is applied Cosunwide, so the choice was obvious. However, Van der Gronden himself first

took a look in Japan, the “cradle of continuous improvement”. “There it became clear to me that TPM really works, but that it is not a miracle cure. Given the cultural differences between the Netherlands and Japan, TPM calls for a creative approach. In Japan they have life-time employment and people are practically brought up on TPM. Operators in Japan are really proud of their work and their machines.” According to Van der Gronden we have nowhere near reached that stage here yet. However, he did acknowledge TPM’s strong points. “The philosophy has proved itself. It offers a ready-made structure and contains a host of control instruments for middle management.” Implementation But how does one implement TPM in practice? Rixona attracted Plant Manager Geert Buijsman (who had gained a great deal of experience with TPM at Unilever) and looked for an effective consultant, which it found in Blom Consultancy bv. Buijsman was already convinced of the benefits of TPM. “If you strive for ‘immediate effectiveness at the lowest possible cost’ in a production environment, then TPM is the tool.” The method’s strongest point, according to Buijsman, is that it starts on the shop floor rather than being imposed from above. “TPM offers a clear implementation structure, but you do need to work out how that structure applies to your own company.” Jointly with the external consultant he drew up a 100-day plan, with an initial emphasis on ‘explaining’.

Leading - to World Class Per formance

Overcoming resistance ”We first held a number of sessions with top and middle management. They were fairly sceptical at first, having already worked with improvement tools in the pre-2005 period. So what was new about this one? We simply explained that what we proposed was something more than providing some disconnected elements. On the contrary, TPM offers cohesion between all components and ensures direction and control.” Van der Gronden joins in: “We mustn’t be too afraid of resistance. You simply have to explain it in the clearest possible terms. If you do that, people understand perfectly well what you are talking about. With TPM as a method it is of great importance to make clear that management determines the ‘what’, whereas staff are deemed to structure the ‘how’. Pilots ”We started on a modest scale, with some 5S tracks and the implementation of Autonomous Maintenance for two assembly lines”, Plant Manager Buijsman explains. By way of pilot projects, Rovema 1 (a small-packaging line) and a bulk line (for the filling of paper bags) were selected. “Not easy,” Buijsman admits, “When everybody is busy, it doesn’t feel nice for the line to stop all of a sudden. The line operators were surprised in the beginning. ‘Why us?’’, they wondered. However, together with a mechanic they started working enthusiastically after a while.” The pilot project started with a ‘total clean out’, revealing a large number of defects. “That enables you to know where to commit your efforts. In addition, checking the line gave the operators much more insight into their machines”, according to Buijsman. “We then started working on specific things in SGAs (Small Group Activity), and implemented Autonomous Maintenance for the other lines.” Results It is now mid-2008 and the results are already visible. As Van der Gronden says, “The workplace has visually improved and is much tidier, while productivity has increased strongly.”


Henk Gelden (Head of Fill Packaging), Geert Buijsman (Plant Manager), Otto van der Gronden (General Manager)

Buijsman: “After some eight months, production had increased from 1,500 to 3,000, with peaks of 3,500 to 4,000 bags per shift. However, a rise in production is not everything. You might increase production from 50 to 100 but if the end product is no good, the process is meaningless. Quality and reliability have also got to be raised.” So there are still plenty of steps to be taken. “We will complete, secure and evaluate the autonomous maintenance track, and then examine what went okay and what didn’t. In addition, we are going to set up an audit structure from which learning and improvement points will continually emerge”, according to Van der Gronden. Culture change ”There is more to TPM than implementing a few tools. What you want to achieve is a change in culture. You want to make people involved in your company. And that may be easier in Japan than in this country, where the concept of ‘my company’ is not selfevident”, according to Van der Gronden. “But I do believe TPM will help to promote such an attitude and it might also show benefits in the area of staff recruitment. After all, we don’t just say that people are important, we also show it in practice.” Buijsman is in complete agreement. “People on the shop floor, that is our capital!”.

On to the shop floor In this light we asked somebody on the ‘shop floor’ how he had experienced the implementation of TPM. Henk Gelden, Head of Fill Packaging: “After the first sessions we had a million questions. Hadn’t they tried something similar during the Nestlé period? But this time it quickly became clear that this wasn’t about separate projects. TPM is a binding agent that is mainly about effective communications. At every step we were given clear and personal explanations. Of course there were criticisms in the beginning, but in the main we just ‘went for it’. And now everything is well-oiled, while the OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) has gone up a few percentage points. People are much more involved, our sense of responsibility has increased and everybody wants to take part in SGAs. They are actually pushing each other into doing even better.” So Henk Gelden’s evaluation of the first steps is clearly positive. “It is not an easy task to interrupt people and machines and schedule them in for an experiment. But everything has been taken care of and the losses we thought we might make have been more than compensated for already.”

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To experience the principles of TPM in depth Why I went to Japan. What I took home with me. We saw good examples of visualisation. We learned how to organize and structure a company in order to create a TPM culture. We now understand the TPM philosphy and how to implement it in practice. We have seen how to identify and minimize losses (in time, product, energy etc.) We learned how to engage employees in the projects and how to initiate their active role.

More information:

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TPM in the office A peek behind the scenes

Implementing TPM in the office: most companies expect so much resistance that they do not even dare to think about it. But it is possible. In Japan, it has been possible for years, and Europe started catching up a few years ago, too. TPM in the office is a logical step when TPM has been applied extensively in production, which is the case with Unilever. But this does not take away from the fact that it is a huge step. After all, losses are not as readily quantifiable in an office; actually, they can be downright abstract. Looking back on the international training course ‘TPM in Support Departments’ in Bilbao for Unilever process facilitators, coach and trainer Arno Koch from Blom Consultancy shares his experiences.

Course participants came from all over Europe. We had people from Russia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Spain, England, France and the Netherlands in Bilbao. The course is open to participants from every Unilever company in the three divisions ‘Health and Body Care’, ‘Food’, and ‘Ice and Frozen’. It is given on site at a host, which in most cases is a Sourcing Unit, but it can also be an office or headquarters.


The Course team in charge of organising the event started planning as far as nine months in advance with the choice of the host site. Next, a Course Manager was chosen from the host staff; this person is responsible for local organisation. The course addresses four to six real-life cases from the host site. A ‘Black Cap’ is appointed for each case; this is someone who is thoroughly familiar with the case situation and wil-


Leading - to World Class Per formance


do these cases need to offer the host improvement potential, but they also have to provide suitable subject matter for the trainees. The Black Caps are now given specific assignments.

A participant from the Netherlands presents a revised process.

ling to make it ‘course ready’ and who will, once the course has started, act as a go-between for trainees and people involved in the process. In addition, the visitors analyse the processes in question from a fresh perspective, which subsequently allows the company to get straight to work in using the implementation plan to improve their performances. Basically, the presence of a group of trainees eager to learn provides a tremendous boost to both improvement awareness and improvement initiatives. Approximately four months prior to the course I pay a visit to the host and meet with the Course Manager to go over all of the checklists and see what needs to be done and how we are going to make the necessary arrangements. I also meet the Black Caps, who are given a briefing on their role and responsibilities. Next, I scan the chosen cases in order to get a basic idea. Not only

I visit the host two additional times in order to monitor progress. My main concern is checking the Black Caps to make sure they are fit for the job. Is their English sufficient? Are they truly motivated, or is this an obligation? Often, a case or a Black Cap is dismissed at this stage. We always keep this in mind when choosing the initial group! The Black Caps receive another set of instructions and are asked to prepare a case presentation for the next visit. Then it is finally time for the actual course week to begin. The participants fly in on Sunday evening, which gives them a chance to get acquainted. Monday is theory day, and also includes playing a round of the game Lean in the Office. The highest ranking officer, which is usually the site manager, officially introduces the event. Next, the TPM coordinator explains the role of TPM and TPM in Support Departments at Unilever. Everyone introduces them-

Not your everyday example of local colour: the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao where we enjoyed our course dinner.

selves and the participants share their three key expectations for the course. There is always a lot to digest on the first day, so we avoid making it too late, and everyone dines together in the hotel. On Tuesday, the bus departs for the factory at 8:00. We start with a tour. In general, it is helpful to have an idea of

The Lean in the Office game offers us a preview of where we are heading.

the environment; this way, when you start working on a case you have a clear picture of what it involves. After all, one of the most important principles of problem analysis is to investigate the data at the site where it actually comes from (genchi genbutsu). Now it is time to tackle the case syndicates. The group is divided into teams of five or six people and their assigned Black Cap who will work on their case with them. The Black Cap presents his or her case to the team and now it is up to the teams to start the analysis based on the previous theory. I visit each of the teams, spending about ten minutes an hour with each. You can imagine that this is quite a job when six cases are involved. To lighten the load, the

What is TPM in Support Departments for Unilever Unilever acknowledges that good office processes are an important supplement to effective and efficient production processes. Improving these processes calls for a critical mass in the organisation that is able to analyse them and then implement improvements. To do this, the company worked with Blom Consultancy bv to draw up a blueprint to train a group of 300 process facilitators. Once they have completed training, the employees return to the offices as TPM managers and team leaders and get to work. Similar initiatives are underway at other companies, including ‘World Class Office’, ‘Lean Administration’ and ‘Lean in the Office’.


Leading - to World Class Per formance


European TPM coordinator acts as a co-trainer. The participants spend the entire week together, day in and day out. This is on purpose. It makes it impossible not to talk to each other, get to know each other and network! At the end of each long day, the bus picks us up and we

builds up during the week. The participants learn that good analysis alone is not enough; you must also know how to sell it! A well supported and structured story is essential, and of course the presentation must include visual aids. Once the course is over, only the Black Caps remain on site, which is why the

“In total we have trained around 300 people so far. The trainees have examined and improved some 50 business processes.” go to the Course Manager’s restaurant of choice. Two special evenings are arranged during the week. The first is designed to give everyone a taste of

teams deliver not only a current and future state analysis but also a 100-day implementation plan. An outline of the plan is given during the presentation. Management team members are asked one by one whether they are prepared to commit to the implementation of the plan and, for each case, one MT member is recruited to ‘sponsor’ the planned change.

The trainer’s response

The week is a championship event for participants, Black Caps, organisers and trainers alike. The best part is that it also delivers gold medal results! The participants learn how to perform a process-oriented problem analysis in a team and to arrive at solutions that act as countermeasures to source causes. At the end of the week, the participants fly home. In Bilbao we saw five positively world-class cases. Of course, as experts, we know the secrets of their success: • brief and to the point hands-on instruction; • a different view and way of thinking; • knowledge of the floor (go to gemba);

The site management’s response Sometimes the analysis is a real puzzle!

the local colour, and could be anything. The other is the official course dinner, during which the group is joined by local management and someone from company headquarters in Rotterdam usually flies in, too. During the week, the Course Team is working constantly. Having spent so much time preparing, everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing, and the programme usually goes off without a hitch. The only problems that occasionally arise are when the site managers are suddenly occupied with urgent matters at the last minute. While that often leads to juicy discussions, luckily it seldom interferes with our schedule. The participants are informed at the beginning of the week that they will be expected to present the results of their work to the group, site management and other guests on Friday. This prospect really adds to the pressure that


The six MT members assess the presentations with an extremely critical eye, but are nevertheless impressed by the quality of the work delivered. According to the MT team “The depth of the analysis, the precision of the redesign, and also the degree of teamwork and the sense of enjoyment has far exceeded our expectations!” After the five presentations we engage in a forum discussion that focuses on the

The ‘red team’ and their Black Cap (left) give the presentation

question: “What does the MT need from the teams and what do the teams need from the MT in order to implement these proposals successfully?”

In the factory we see numerous examples of ‘Visual Management’.

• 360-degree perspective; • a structured approach; • a perfect analysis technique; • rapid team building; • ownership; • commitment on the part of everyone involved; • thorough preparation that leaves nothing to chance! After Bilbao we are more certain than ever of what it means to “get people to deliver first class performances in a harmonious environment”. This is what being able to personally deliver a first-class performance looks like; this is how I want to work.

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Getting started with TPM Or: how to cause an oil slick, step by step In 2006 Royal Cosun’s Corporate Development Manager Coen de Haas was handed an unusual assignment: see what we as a group could do with improvement methods. “A tricky question, yes. But I started looking; I searched all over the Internet and talked to all kinds of experts. One of our business units had already booked promising results with TPM, so of course I focused on that, too. And whether it was due to all of the results or because of my production background, I was absolutely smitten. If only I had known about TPM earlier,” he sighs. So the choice was made for Total Productive Maintenance and the company began implementing it in 2007. But what exactly does that entail? 40

Leading - to World Class Per formance


According to Coen de Haas, who is now also Corporate TPM Manager, it is by no means an overnight process. Therefore, before he advised Cosun to adopt TPM company-wide as the chosen improvement method, he really did his homework. “Obviously the fact that our business unit Nedalco already had had highly positive experiences with the Japanese method played a big role. Nedalco started implementing TPM in 2003. The corporate level noticed their results, which ultimately led to giving me the assignment in the first place.”

Capital intensive

But De Haas also investigated other well-known methods such as Lean, WCM and Six Sigma. “I found out as much as I could. However, the problem, which many managers in smaller companies (around 200 employees or less) recognise, is that you become utterly swamped in information. More often than not, it is by sheer coincidence that you actually find something in the whole tangled mess that applies.” The Internet proved to be a real boon: the former plant manager and director of various Cosun companies quickly gathered the necessary information. “We saw a lot of differences yet also many similarities between the various methods. The next step is to figure out which one best suits your organisation. Cosun is a food company and works with commodities very capital intensive production processes, in other words,” he explains. “With that in mind, we feel that TPM is the most appropriate improvement method.”


The next stop, having decided on an improvement method, was to find a good partner. From the beginning it was clear that we would like to make use of the knowledge of JIPM-S. This Japanese firm enjoys an international reputation as the expert on the subject. “The Japanese have a very clear, albeit strict, yet also fully crystallised approach. Basically, you can start using it right away. However, if you think of the path to the ideal as a mountain climbing expedition, JIPM-S acts as your guide, someone who is mainly there to map out your route. They visit four times a year to place the climbing bolts. But we needed another partner for the day to day guidance. Coen de


Haas spoke with a dozen TPM consultants. In a joined decision by the operations managers of the Business Group Blom Consultancy was selected. They understand the art of teaching us the necessary skills we need to be able to ascend the mountain, bolt by bolt. Basically they act as our Sherpas.”


Before Cosun could get to work with TPM group-wide, a number of preparations were necessary. De Haas: “I started out by talking to as many companies in the group as possible in order to get them involved in the project. Fortunately most of them were able to make a fresh start. In places where improvement projects had already been introduced earlier, it had never amounted to more than a few isolated activities in most cases. And there were no projects currently underway, so nobody had any thoughts along the lines of, ‘Oh great, now we have to chuck everything that we had and start all over again with something new.’” The TPM manager managed to get three Cosun companies interested in the project. The second step was to provide them with not only knowledge but also awareness most of all. “It is important to show people how TPM works in practice. Seeing is believing. We started by visiting companies, both inside Cosun (Nedalco) and outside. I joined the TPM Japan Study Tour, too. That really broadens your perspective.”

Step by step

A first group of people were trained as TPM facilitators. Within their companies they got down to business with a number of pilots. “The pilots are designed to demonstrate on a small scale what TPM can do for your organisation. After a period of five to nine months you will start seeing the initial results. This is also when various learning curves start to develop: in the pilot department, among the supervisors and also for me personally. Only then can you start rolling out everything for other areas and in other departments, companies and business units. It is impossible to implement every aspect of TPM into the entire organisation in one fell swoop. JIPM-S makes that very clear, too: everything is done step by step.”

Oil slick

When various steps are being taken in numerous directions, the result is an oil slick effect. “Which is exactly the idea; however, you cannot force the oil to do what you want it to do. Instead, the spill develops according to its own dynamic. But what you can do,” De Haas explains, “is to get people excited about it. You can do so by sharing the results of the pilots with them, but of course also by being very enthusiastic yourself. After all, you are supposed to be serving as an example.” Conveying enthusiasm is one thing, but it has to stick, too. And you do have a say in that, according to the TPM Manager. “Your individual role as the TPM coordinator is vital because you have to get these enthused companies and people to start working with TPM. You do that by offering the opportunity to train people (for example through TPM facilitator training), but also by providing the means to get started.”


According to Coen de Haas commitment at the highest level will make or break the project. “Not only does ‘the top’ show that they are fully supportive, but [their support] makes things easier, too. By investing times and money, for example.” Within Cosun we have been fortunate to have gained experience with TPM at Nedalco. “But whether management understands the improvement method in detail is not all that relevant; instead, it is far more important for them to feel confident that this is the right way. When you have that confidence, you can start blazing new trails.” In addition to commitment from the top, it goes without saying that it is essential to get commitment from the people on the shop floor. “It is wonderful to see people pick it up. You see how, after some time, TPM offers structure that creates a sense of calm. In that environment, and with the support and means from the enabling staff, this creates involvement and allows people to develop.”

Added value

The enthusiasm and employee development is an important advantage of TPM. But the way Coen de Haas sees it, the long-term approach is the biggest added value of this improvement method. “It is not a question of making

Leading - to World Class Per formance


a few changes and eventually having it go slack again. TPM is mainly about preserving the improvements, along with pursuing additional, new improvements. This is how you keep ascending to a higher level, and ultimately how you fulfil your original ambition: a continuously improving organisation.” The “climbing bolts” that JIPM-S puts into place in the form of awards are not so much goals in themselves but rather an incentive to keep going. It is a very long, arduous climb, but when you see that it works, it is also a tremendously satisfying and enjoyable route,” De Haas says.


The first positive results are already in. The group of three companies with which the TPM Manager engaged in 2007 has grown to 10 so far (distribu-

ted over the six business units). The oil slick is clearly spreading, in other words. Still, Coen de Haas seems somewhat hesitant to talk about these successes. “Right now, the most important thing is progress. And some companies are making more headway than others. I will be satisfied when the key locations in the group are clearly on their way to continuous improvement. I would be terribly disappointed to see anyone give up. It has to stick. TPM must become an integrated part of everyone’s work.” And although he sees signs of this, he feels it is still too soon to call the project a success. “First let’s get through the entire 12-year process,” he says, laughing. “It certainly keeps things exciting, taking stock of where we are with each passing year. As our Japanese and Dutch ‘masters’ always remind us: step by step.”

Royal Cosun produces and sells natural ingredients and food stuffs for the international food industry, food service (catering and wholesale) and the retail outlets. The group also processes organic residues into products for non-food applications. Cosun comprises six business units: The entire group generates turnover of EUR 1.7 billion and has approximately 4,300 employees (FTE). Cosun’s marketing and research expertise is at the service of today’s and tomorrow’s food market. This expertise has been concentrated around specific customer groups and applications. For research and quality control Cosun has its own research and development organisation, Cosun Food Technology Centre (CFTC). The organisation, which bears the prestigious “Koninklijke” (royal) designation, operates as part of the first links in the food production chain, collecting and processing large volumes of agricultural raw materials into quality ingredients and food. Together with customers, suppliers and members, the organisation develops products suited to the food market, now and in the future.


Leading - to World Class Per formance

Leadership on the way to World Class Performance You head an organisation that is on its way to a World Class Performance - what are you going to do to guarantee success? When faced with disappointing results, do you cast about for a new strategy or you do you ask yourself how you could use WCP better? Blom Consultancy uses “Leadership on the way to a WCP� to support your every step towards successful results for your organisation.


Leading - to World Class Per formance


The past few years have been characterised by a growing number of changes at the top of organisations. These changes are often forced and are motivated by disappointing results and poor performance. A new leader will shake things up in the hope of creating positive results. A shake-up often implies that a leader will use new strategies and accompanying methods and techniques to realise new improvements. Based on its experience, Blom Consultancy believes that these developments can be translated into the abstract level of organisational changes/improvements.

provements made earlier in the process can 0possibly diminish in quality over the course of time or be lost entirely. As soon as results begin to stagnate and there is no clear way to achieve improvements, the organisation will, in the worst-case scenario, elect a new leader. If the established order still enjoys a certain measure of trust, the organisation may decide to follow a new strategy and approach as a less drastic measure. We observe these behaviours in phase 1 where techniques, methods and, in the worst-case scenario, changes in regime are used to improve the level of performance.

IDEAL Process development & Personal development go hand in hand




Awareness of the effect of personal behaviour on the desired change






The what, the how and rolesharing

Awareness of the ‘why’ of tools/methods and techniques


approx. 1.5 years

This graph shows the phases an organisation will experience if it decides to implement strategies to achieve the intended improvements. We see that the first phase the organisation uses techniques to achieve results. In the second phase, the organisation wonders why they have implemented the technique and what influence the user will have on the expected result. During the third phase, the organisation discovers that the personal developments of the user(s) and the process development as a consequence of the technique go hand in hand.

It is too simplistic to argue that choosing a new direction should not be an option because, in a number of cases, a change in direction is an essential tool for bringing about change. However, the difference between successful and unsuccessful improvements is determined by the measure in which the leader dares to maintain the existing strategy, to accept his/her own responsibility and to show “why” the existing strategy had not been successful to date. Taking responsibility as regards the result is a very important quality for a leader to have.

The second phase can sometimes mean a loss of time or quality because finding answers to questions takes time. Also, the more people involved in the process, the longer this phase will last. Should an organisation not complete this phase or not complete it fully, im-

Leadership: just for leaders or for managers too?


diately think of the highest executives within an organisation. Although the assignments and frameworks are different, managers are also involved with leadership. If we think simplistically in terms of leaders, managers and employees, we can say that an organisation’s leader provides “the why” of the “the what” and “the how”. Providing answers to the question “why” gives meaning to a course of action and clarity to the greater whole to which the organisation contributes and therefore also the difference it makes. This is often called an organisation’s vision. Defining this vision is the first step in the chain of change that outlines the ingredients needed for success. The vision is based on the leader’s faith and conviction and he or she will strive towards it with strength of will and passion. Examples are essential in developing a vision. Figure 1. The chain of change.

Not only an organisation’s director, but also its managers can have a real effect on whether a result is achieved or not. When we talk of leadership, we imme-

The next step is for management to forge ahead with translating the vision into “what” needs to happen in order to make it happen. This process turns the vision into concrete objectives. The organisation must, however, commit to the vision and goals before thought can be given to “how” the objectives can be achieved. In this “commitment phase”, a leader will often also have ideas about how particular challenges could be addressed. We all know the type: the leader that gets involved in the nitty-gritty on the shop floor (without actually having any real understanding of how it works). It is crucial that the various levels keep to their proper roles and responsibilities to successfully translate the vision into action. This gives everyone something to work with and the opportunity to show leadership in their own role. Filip Vandendriessche describes the executives’ role (and that of management and staff carrying out the work) in his book “Leiding geven zonder bevelen” (Providing Leadership without Issuing Orders). The model below comprises a “management funnel” and a “conflict pyramid” and shows in

Leading - to World Class Per formance


a clear manner the separation between the what and the how and the associated roles and responsibilities. Figure 2. The management funnel. Leadership A World Class leader asks himself the question: “What is it that I do that stops us from obtaining results?” He takes full responsibility when the desired result is not achieved. He knows that it’s something he does, says, emanates or thinks that prevents an improvement from delivering the desired result. A World Class Leader also uses physical changes to the environment to encourage movement. By changing the environment, you influence behaviour. A World Class Leader will therefore always take the required step to translate his vision directly into the environment. Promoting a transparent culture is a great deal easier when all unnecessary clutter is removed from the work space. It is easier to realise multidisciplinary collaboration when people are working closely together. A World-Class Leader focuses therefore on translating the vision into the environment and not into a bunch of wonderful documents (that then disappear into a filing cabinet). The concept of leadership connects the transformation of the vision into the environment and taking and accepting complete responsibility for the result. The physical environment therefore provides the fuel for personal development by giving feedback on how well a job is done. Personal development and process development can go hand in hand if a leader acknowledges and assumes responsibility for the physical transformation or, in other words, the result of the change/improvement. We will see how this works in phase three of the Next Level curve. This applies to managers and employees as it does to leaders. Everybody impacts the process and has the option of taking on board the responses to work on the process and to accept this as feedback on their own way of working. This “ownership” guarantees


that an organisation can create its own reality. Blom Consultancy defines leadership as follows: “the behaviour of the leader who directs a process whereby process and person move ever closer to the ideal.” Blom Consultancy and your organisation’s leadership Blom Consultancy offers a supportive approach as well as various methods and techniques to bring about the changes in environment, process and structure you intend. This approach guarantees an environment in which the desired behaviour can be displayed. Blom offers “policy deployment” – a technique that facilitates the translation of a vision into objectives and eventually into action. We therefore ask at every level what needs to be done to reach the goal. The employees involved at each level are given the what (the common goal) in either a direct or indirect form and they then decide what actions they themselves will take and which it would be better to leave to another level or team (deploy). Translating back the results provides insight into the extent to which the goal has been achieved. This technique also manifests itself in the environment in many forms of expression and creates an environment in which the desired behaviour can be displayed.

Blom also assists you as a process leader in acknowledging and assuming complete responsibility for the results of the changes have achieved. Not only in situations that provide disappointing results but also in situations in which the desired result is achieved. We have noticed that a World Class Leader is modest when successful and he attributes the honour to those under him. The employees then view the success as a reward for their efforts. They stand in the spotlight instead of in their leader’s shadow. A quote for the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tse (approx. 600 BC) shows that this summation of leadership is nothing new: “As for the best leaders The people do not notice their existence, The next best people honour and praise. The next, people fear. And the next, the people hate, When the leader’s work is done The people say, “We did it all ourselves!”

Vision Targets

Motivation Commitment



Action plan


Motivation Commitment



Action plan

Vision Targets

Gradual Change



Action plan

Vision Targets

Motivation Commitment



Action plan

Vision Targets

Motivation Commitment



Action plan

Vision Targets

Motivation Commitment



Risky start

Leading - to World Class Per formance

Mirror, mirror on the wall Leanest Who’s the

of them all?

Once upon a time there was a group of people, working in health care organisations. They wanted to become Lean. Truth be told, it was actually the people in power in the country who, with their watchful eyes fixed on the government coffer, decided it was high time for efficiency to come to the health care system. They tried everything: salary cutbacks, hospital mergers, cheaper purchasing, but it was all in vain. Then came tales of a marvellously effective improvement method called Lean. The group beseeched a well-known consultant in the field of continuous improvement. “Oh, consultant, make us the Leanest health care organisation of them all.� The consultant thought long and hard and finally gave the group two things: an order to embark on a journey and a magic mirror.


Leading - to World Class Per formance


of work. It calls for a renewed effort every day and conscientious hard work. Without this, nothing will actually change! The pitfall is,” the consultant intoned, “copying tools and solutions. You must have a good grasp of the principles behind the tools. By carefully examining ‘why it works’, principles can be effectively applied to every situation. This is why I am sending you to a city far, far away from here. Fly to Seattle, and learn how to see!” The group asked the consultant why they had to go to Seattle. The consultant explained that students of the Eastern wizard Ohno had settled in Seattle at the end of the previous century. The city is home to a number of world-famous companies and organizations that had acquired years of hands-on experience with Lean. Plus, Seattle is positively synonymous with enterpreneurship and ambition! “The motto is ‘To make a difference’!” the consultant exclaimed somewhat cryptically.

The group, comprising a dozen doctors, nurses, managers and project leaders, first received an explanation of Lean’s basic principles. The consultant explained that Lean is a philosophy and a management strategy designed to improve processes and develop teams. “Simply put: ‘doing more with less.’ Whether you are providing medical care or manufacturing cars, it all comes down to creating processes throughout the entire organization that offer maximum added value to customers and company alike.” It was music to the group’s ears. The consultant’s next words had a more sobering effect. “A Lean transformation is not easy. It takes a lot


And so a miraculous flying machine transported the group to Tacoma Airport in Seattle on 29 March 2008. During the flight, they were given the consultant’s final words of advice to read. These were contained in a list of organizations to visit and a mysterious assignment: “Your assignment is not to be cheap or to do your best. Your assignment is to increase the value for your customer using minimum effort and cost by utilizing your staff’s knowledge and creativity to the maximum.” The group also took out the mirror, which was accompanied by the words: “Look into this every night.” 30 March – Seattle The first day started with a huge cup of Starbucks coffee. After all, Seattle is where this coffee magnate started. The group visited the Pike’s Place Market (which has been featured in movies including “Fish”) where the fishmongers’ enthusiasm was striking. These people truly want to be the most famous fish sellers in the

world. In order to get a better feel for the city, they organized a treasure hunt. Remember, “Everybody is an inspector” is one of the Lean principles. The group also visited the Klondike Gold Rush Museum. Centuries ago, gold fever drew many people to Seattle in search of fame and fortun, much like this group’s quest for success now. 31 March – Boeing Boeing, the builder of wondrous flying machines, was clearly the place for them to be. Mike Herscher, director of the Lean Enterprise Office Commercial Airplanes, took the group under his wing. Herscher described how the need for a new approach dawned on Boeing when a lucrative contract went to its competitor Airbus. It’s then we realized, “Fat cats don’t hunt.” It was time for the organization to go on a diet, which Boeing did with the help of Lean. One aircraft a day The size of the Boeing hangars in Everett, Washington is as impressive as the activities taking place inside. The layout of the factory favours Ushaped workcells, which ensures that everything is within the employees’ reach. At Boeing Renton, where 737s are manufactured, you rarely see anyone walking around. Everyone works inside the aircraft, and has all of the necessary tools at hand. It takes only 10 days (the target is eight) to assemble a 737, out of the 370.000 separate components. One aircraft rolls off the assembly line every day, where the client awaits to fly it home. 1 April – Everett Clinic The welcome at the Everett Clinic was almost as impressive: a parking place had been reserved for the coach, and a total of 11 employees came out to greet the group. The clinic, which has earned the distinction of best place to work, year after year, actively applies the Lean principles with plenty of drive and enthusiasm. Using value flow analyses, a great deal has been improved throughout the clinic and their focus is clearly on

Leading - to World Class Per formance

customer service, process thinking and teamwork. The clinic’s desk office’s motto in particular made a big impression on the group: “One call does it all!” Gemba Research and Kaas Tailored In the afternoon the group made its way to furniture factory Kaas Tailored. Several years earlier, owner Jeff Kaas “caught” the Lean bug from Jon Miller, the owner of Gemba Research. The resulting efficiency in working procedures freed up space in the furniture factory, prompting Miller to move his office to the site. Unsurprisingly, the factory is a textbook example of daily Lean management, with every employee contributing to continuous improvement. And literally everything is visually communicated and managed on the shop floor! 2 April – Genie Industries During a visit to material lifts and aerial work platforms manufacturer Genie Industries, the group was allowed to tour the “Gemba” (shop floor). In the spirit of “Learning to see”, the group sketched the seven flows on the production floor. The production

time was 49 minutes and commenced with a flourish of trumpets. In other words, a new cherry picker rolls off the assembly line every 49 minutes! Each workspace includes trolleys stocked with the required materials for the process in question. The “water striders” (highly trained individuals who are familiar with the entire process) make sure that everything is on hand just in time, and are quick to lend a hand in case there are any problems. The number of ad hoc trial structures was striking, too; they indicated the ideas and improvements currently being developed. 3 April – Group Health Cooperative At Group Health Cooperative, a health insurance provider, the group witnessed Lean applications in an office environment. A guided tour of their “model line” offered proof of a paradigm shift at every level. Daily management and Daily kaizen was visible on signs accompanying each process. Heijunka signs illustrate workflows and productions. The lead times have been drastically shortened from one month to three days; they ultimately want to scale it back to one day! The vice president is present on the shopfloor 80% of the time, offering support to employees. Their progress is tracked using a moveable sign that he always takes with him out on the floor. 4 April – Virginia Mason Medical Centre On the last day, the group visited Virginia Mason Medical Centre. In 2002 a number of people from the hospital flew to Japan to see the art of Lean in action. Since then, many processes have been set up in flow and dramatically improved. Lead times have been radically shortened and the work conditions for nursing staff have been significantly improved by introducing “nursing cells.” A copy of what a patient can expect is posted in each hospital room. Employees are scheduled flexibly every


day and new employees receive training in the Lean Health Care principles. Every year approximately 25 individuals travel to Japan to learn more about the Lean principles in manufacturing companies. Safety first At Virginia Mason, safety takes priority. That’s why a patient who died during a procedure is used as an example: we do not want this to happen again. There is a noticeable lack of waiting rooms and waiting times because the idea is for everyone to be helped immediately. The children’s ward uses folders featuring animals as a fun visual aid. The young patient searches the hallway for the corresponding animal and receives direct attention in the appropriate room. In the Cancer Institute, kanban cards are used throughout the entire process. A sign on the doors indicates the stage of treatment the patient inside has reached, and whether the room is available. During the trip, the group went out to dinner each night at a special location in the greater Seattle area. After dinner, the members took turns looking in the magic mirror and everyone saw something different. They saw how they could apply everything they had learned that day to their own situation. Actually, they saw situations in their particular health care institution that could stand considerable improvement. The exciting week concluded with an inspiring lecture by local Lean magician Mark Rosenthal and a lively salsa evening. Tired, but thoroughly motivated, the group returned home on 6 April. Since then, the members of the group still look into the mirror every night, asking: “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the leanest of them all?” And every day they still see things that could be better in their own organization. After all, the most important thing that they learned in Seattle was how to truly see.

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study tour


28 March - 5 April


healthcare and industry together


The Lean Study Tour brings people in the healthcare, service and the industrial sector together, offering an opportunity to look at processes and organizations from a different perspective. Experience process improvement with Lean and rise to the challenge of applying this approach to your own situation. All decision makers who feel that the healthcare and industrial sectors could learn a lot from each other, everyone who aims to structurally improve healthcare and is ready to break out of traditional patterns is welcome to attend. We’ll take you to inspiring companies including the Everett Clinic, Group Health Cooperative, Boeing, Genie Industries and Kaas Tailored. All of which have years of hands-on experience in applying Lean!

Experience Lean! Learn to see! Join us!

Blom Consultancy | Heuvel 11 | 5737 BX Lieshout | T +31 (0)499 - 42 79 79 | F +31 (0)499 - 42 79 78 |


Thinking, Daring, Doing and Continuing! Three years ago, the Corus steel company in IJmuiden (which joined India’s TATA Steel at the end of last year) began implementing Lean Thinking. Over 100 Lean coaches were trained, “key business chain processes” were defined and project groups were organized to tackle various obstacles throughout the entire company. Nico Bleijendaal, former manager of GrondStoffenBedrijf or GSB (the front of the process) and champion of continuous improvement, reflects on his tenure as the initiator of the process of change at GSB. focused on doing things right, whereas the challenge for a Lean leader is to do the right things.”

Bound for Easy Street

Lean Coaches Jaap Klaver, Roderik van Amerongen and Ingrid Mooijman.

Nico needs little encouragement. When asked about his experiences, he immediately launches into an animated monologue about what he feels are the most important qualities of a “Lean leader”, namely: “Offer direction, know where you want to go, translate the strategic goals of the organization into transparent, straightforward objectives for your people, and spell out what you expect from them. Generally speaking, you could say that a manager is more 50

That sounds familiar. Yet why do so many managers have such a hard time putting it into practice when faced with the challenge? According to Nico, that is one of the most significant pitfalls: the theory sounds familiar and straightforward, but it is the changing real world situation that requires Lean leaders to possess a different set of qualities. “It starts with your own personal iron-clad conviction that the desired improvement cannot be achieved in the usual way, but that continuous improvement is the way to world class status. The unruly everyday real world situation really can be changed. Armed with your conviction, you can persuade others to wade through the muck in order to reach Easy Street also. In any case, you yourself must be open to change; you must give your people freedom

and space, and encourage them to take the initiative. And provide complete support, too, of course. Nothing will change much if management simply pays lip service. As managers, a tremendous amount of involvement, availability and high profile exemplary behavior is asked of us. As we provide this, we are more than happy to have our Lean coaches act as a mirror; they have been indispensable in the steps we have taken.

Sense of urgency

Corus wants to be among the international leaders in the industry. But does this not mean that there will be even more pressure from the senior levels to perform? “Of course, the board will hand us ambitious accelerated operational targets. And rightfully so, as everyone is convinced that despite the fact that we are the best steel company in Europe, there is still a great deal of room for improvement. Plus, the international raw material market presents us with a huge challenge: we must do all we can to secure the necessary raw materials and then use them in the most effective possible ways. Of course, this sense of urgency helps underscore the improvement and change message. But at the end of the day, what matters most is that your organization is determined to be the best and considers failure a personal defeat, just like in professional sport.”


Over the last two years, whenever the topic turns to implementing continuous

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change, GSB has regularly stood in the spotlight at the Corus site. What stood out so much? “It’s tough to sum it up in a few words. I would not say that we at GSB were the only ones investing so much time and attention to implementing Lean Thinking. But I can point out several noteworthy aspects. It helped us tremendously to create focus for management and middle management, partly by organizing a continuous improvement seminar for the GSB top 35 for two years in a row. At the AZ soccer stadium...” he says, clearly proud of his other team. After the first two-day meeting in 2006, supervised by Arno Koch from Blom Consultancy, thinking about continuous improvement gained tremendous momentum. When the top 35 were confronted with the new concept in such an insistent way, everyone gained far better insight into the possibilities that Continuous Improvement had for their departments. It resulted in a record 70+ new projects.

Making choices

In October 2007 the same group converged on the AZ stadium again. The huge number of projects had tested members to the very limit and the call for choices to be made was very strong. No wonder Strategy Deployment was the theme for 2008: making choices, doing the things that

The GSB Top 35 during the First AZ session, with Nico Bleijendaal in the front row, fourth from the left.

workshop. They have to start guiding projects and stimulating the process of change immediately. If they do not understand and assume their role and responsibility in relation to continuous improvement from the start then little will come of all of the Top 35 plans in actual practice. By having members of GSB management open and close these sessions, we expressed the seriousness of the matter.

Success story

So is it all one great big success story? “There are still so many challenges; there is still so much to do. More than anything else, let us carry on. Carry on tackling the issues, having the courage to meet the challenges,

You need to encounter the problems in order to experience the power of the Lean concept. would directly contribute to Corus’ (strategic) objectives and make projects manageable. Theoretically speaking, a project lasts no longer than three months and no more than three projects are implemented at the same time in a factory, for example. In retrospect it all sounds very easy of course, but believe me, it was preceded by an awful lot of discussion.

and daring to try new methods. A historically developed culture like the one at Corus generally characterized by short improvement initiatives with a cut and dried beginning and end cannot be transformed in a matter of three years into an organization where Lean-based continuous improvement is a fully developed aspect of our way of thinking and doing.

Also, during the period between these sessions, we offered all of the supervisors at GSB (a total of some 60 employees), in cooperation with Blom, a two-day Lean and Leadership

No Escape


else is hard. And as management you have to have the guts to intervene when people try to duck out. It was no coincidence that our second AZ meeting was called ‘No Escape’! But I am convinced that the pitfalls are also important for all of us to experience. You need to encounter the problems in order to experience the power of the Lean concept. The seeds have been planted and are starting to sprout. In some places shoots can even be seen. But like anything else, we must take proper care of them in order to make sure everything keeps growing.” Nico finishes by sharing his thoughts about the years to come. “Stay confident, protect improvements and celebrate successes, and most of all stay the chosen course. When everyone, from management to the shop floor demonstrates a professional athlete’s attitude and takes responsibility, Corus IJmuiden will be able to capture the world championship title.” The GSB will shortly say farewell to an inspired manager. But we can be sure that he will continue to rise to the challenge of continuous improvement on his new assignment for Corus’ Cold Belt Rolling Mill 2. Stay tuned. By: Ingrid Mooijman Lean coach Grondstoffenbedrijf Corus

Certain things have not gone as smoothly. Sometimes it seems as if we are allergic to best practices; adopting something positive from someone Leading - to World Class Per formance


Any idea how

long it takes to build a Boeing 737? Boeing Main Assembly 737

The Boeing 737 is the world’s bestselling short-to-mediumrange aircraft with more than 5,500 built so far. The aircraft comprises 376,000 (!) unique parts (to compare: a snazzy car has a mere 38,000). It takes a massive 190 litres of paint to cover the body alone, and the plane has more than 50 kilometres of cabling… And yet, every 737 is also unique. How long do you think it takes to build one of these giants of the air? And how many aeroplanes turn out perfectly?

We can be brief about that last question; the clients themselves come to pick up the aircraft and they fly it back to its destination, so yes, they are flawless. It would be extremely bad advertising if one crashed directly after leaving the factory. And what about the production time? A few years ago it took 29 days, but these days the machines are built in just 8 ‘flow days’. Boeing still allows two ‘buffer days’ - one before and one after. “We apologize for not being so good yet, but we will achieve eight days soon!” The company can currently deliver around three planes a day.

Faster, better, cheaper

Every plane is built on three production lines in one dizzyingly large hangar. Boeing has but one building that is larger: the Boeing 747 assembly line. However, it’s not about the size of the hangar. They’re not only building faster, they can now build 30% more aircraft on 16% less factory floor! They need 41% less total floor space (which they have sold off in the meantime) and the ‘inventory turn’ has climbed from 1.5 to 30 times a year. Their inventory has shrunk by 60%, which has dramatically lowered its value. Has all this made everything more expensive? Not at all! They used to be happy with a margin of 5 to 6%; they are now making 11%!

How do they do it?

What’s the secret behind this success story? Twenty years ago, Boeing started implementing Lean Manufacturing. Boeing now has 45 internal Lean consultants and 180 ‘Kaizen Leaders’ who manage permanent improvement projects. The leader of this group

Freshly painted, ready for delivery


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(Mike Herscher) says about his work: “It is my job to be annoying to the status quo”. Not only the processes have improved, the work itself has also become more fun. At the Interior Responsibility Center (producer of the luggage bins overhead, among other things) they’ve managed to decrease the turnaround time from 256 days to just 22 hours! As one of the production employees told us, “The improvement is that you know what you have to do, how it needs to be done and where everything is. Everything works a great deal more smoothly, easily. We now work in flow and that is much less tiring.” A team leader adds “People want to contribute. We are helping them to do so. It is annoying if you can’t, if there are no tools, etc.” The work is also often a lot more diverse. Imagine you have to make a box with six sides. You could get six people to each make one side or one person could make one complete box. The latter is what they are doing at Boeing. It not only means work is carried out quicker and better, but also that it is far more enjoyable!

The principles used

How can you get that ‘flow’? We observed a number of principles in use at Boeing: • They separated the production streams into three ‘Tailored Business Streams’ (TBS) - towards dynamics instead of product. This means that specials no longer disrupt the running streams. • Boeing balances the workload by having ‘Local Visual Controls’ everywhere: indicators whereby everyone can see if a particular workcell is on schedule. Any deviation is visible immediately and, once spotted, an ‘emergency plan’ kicks in. • Unlike a traditional ‘process centre’, a product is always moving in a flow line. “If it ain’t moving, it’s dead. We don’t want dead things!” At Boeing, even the aircraft moves (two inches a minute). The continuity of the flow is protected by Rapid Response Teams who work directly at the line. They


Production line in Kent (WA, USA).

also work with ‘dedicated’ instead of ‘shared’ resources. • Boeing works with ‘right sized equipment’ and says: “Use people for things that people are good at and use machines for things that machines are good at. Don’t make people into machines or machines into people!” • In the framework of the Production Preparation Process, they no longer ‘brainstorm’ but ‘try-storm’. They think of at least seven possible solutions to every problem and simulate it 100 times using primitive resources. One of the questions they ask themselves here is: “How would nature solve this problem?” • All parts and tools are organised into ‘kits’ where it can be seen immediately if they are ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’. The kit and aircraft are only released once the supervisor has determined that it is safe to do so.

Why did it take 20 years?

gers managed the shortages, the things that were missing. We had aircraft at the end of the line that still needed parts. That was the way we built aeroplanes.” At the basis of the new setup is standardisation: everyone knows what needs to be done and everything is ‘repeatable’. All the supplies are brought to the line from the warehouse. All the subassembly takes place on the branches of the main line. We only use the main line for installations.


The result: a dramatic improvement in quality and productivity and a drastic drop in costs. They used to work seven days a week in three shifts with 30 to 70% overtime, now they work five days a week in two shifts with just 5% overtime. The aeroplanes now come off the line without pieces missing and employees find the work more challenging and fun.

Mike Herscher says: “We are arrogant.” An honest, somewhat harsh utterance, but for many organisations, often true. How often do we hear “Yes, that’s nice, but it wouldn’t work here.” Plus you also need a lot of commitment and discipline (with regard to Lean principles), especially from management. Any manager that says they want to simplify a process and then buys a complicated machine that operates only 12 weeks a year will soon be paid a visit by ‘Annoying Mike’...

The transition from 29 to 8 days

As Herscher relates, “In 1997 the mana-

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Lean Healthcare But we work with people... This is one of the statements we often hear to explain why everything is so different in healthcare than in other sectors. Is healthcare really so different? We propose that healthcare is exactly the same as other industries... but is it really?


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Let’s take the time to set a few things straight...

We work with people!

We sure do! And Amsterdam Airport Schiphol ‘processes’ no less than 100,000 people a day. Do you have any idea how many meals are made in their kitchens each day? Take a peek into one of the smaller aircraft and it has at least one hundred seats, just as many as your average hospital, more than in most care homes. And while passengers don’t need operations or psychological analysis, they do have to be flown at a height of ten kilometres, a temperature of minus 50°C and a speed of 1,000 kilometres an hour and then be brought back down to earth and land with pinpoint accuracy.

they have ensured that the weather can’t disturb the process to the extent that safety is threatened. Air crew are trained and drilled for every possible occurrence. They are trained on a regular basis to deal with new situations and practice coping in exceptional circumstances. And what about in the care industry? Has every surgeon exhaustively practiced every operation he has ever performed in advance? And has he done so under the watchful eye of an experienced master, using a technique that is internationally recognised as the best? Is the doctor, the therapist, the group leader or caregiver regularly called back to practice for ‘unforeseen situations’ and to survive the drill without falling apart? In the aviation industry, every discipline knows exactly who does what under which circumstances, meaning they can anticipate each other’s moves. The pilot can therefore rest assured that his passengers will be welcomed and shown to their seats in a timely fashion once they’ve come down the passenger bridge. Does a surgeon know what happens with his patients once they’ve left the operating room? Can he be sure that what he just repaired with dedication and professional skill will not later be destroyed by the wrong medication, an infection, bedsores or anything else for that matter?

Health care institutions are rather complex organisations...

Our first reaction to this is: shouldn’t we do something about it, then? Especially

when it constantly seems as if the complexity is too much to control and leads to problems and inflated costs? So is this something that can be changed? Absolutely! The key to success for just about every example of real and lasting improvement has been simplification. Our second reaction is: is complexity in healthcare really so unusual? If we compare Amsterdam Airport Schiphol with a hospital, you could at most argue that Schiphol has done everything within its power to create ‘flow’, so the traveller notices nothing of the incredible complexity that surrounds him. But let’s look a bit farther… do you have any idea just how complex the processes in a company like Unilever are? Do you know what it takes to develop, improve and produce 400 different brands, and all those different items within each brand, each and every day? And to then get people the entire world over to buy them? The argument “we’re not a simple production line” is an outrageous denial of the unbelievable level of difficulty involved in the production line process.

But we work with professionals...

Yes, we do. So do aviation and industry. And that’s exactly why the quality of the healthcare industry should be so high! To put it more succinctly: both the aviation and healthcare industries have professionals who work with people, sometimes under difficult or unpredictable condi-

Our situation is somewhat different...

Well, it depends on how you look at it... In aviation, you could complain that the weather is unpredictable or you could take the changeable weather as a given and be prepared. In the aviation industry


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tions, who are subject to a great many regulations, who are pressured to keep costs low and so on. The two are easy to compare thus far.

So what’s the real difference then...?

As far as we can ascertain, the two branches deal with similar challenges in very different ways. So that’s one clear difference. There is a far-reaching difference in the level of acceptance for undesirable situations. Health insurance companies and healthcare administrators (and even the minister of health) seem to accept incidents that would lead to great upheaval and public outcries in other industries. If we compare the aviation industry or, to use another example, the automobile industry with healthcare, then the biggest differences are in how each has evolved. The first two industries created systems and organisations within just a few decades, in which safety, reliability, quality and cost effectiveness are more or less ‘ingrained’. These systems still need to be created in the care industry, for varying reasons.


But what does this mean?

We believe that a major shift will be needed to make healthcare safe, reliable, effective and efficient. Change is never easy, it’s an art unto itself! Happily, healthcare professionals can see how the chemical industry, aviation and other industries have pulled it off and ‘borrow’ their learning curve. But you still have to translate that learning curve to your own situation! The real challenge is to get large groups of people to take another look at their work and thereby make a permanent change in how they work. The transition encompasses: 1. Gaining a profound understanding of the principles behind ‘Zero Defects’ and ‘Zero Incidents’. 2. Translating these principles into concrete measures that can be applied to your own situation. 3. Implement these principles as quickly as possible and turn them into a new, permanent way of working for all parties involved.

Aviation and chemical industry professionals can help the care industry with point 1. Points 2 and 3 are different however; situations in the aviation and chemical industries are completely different and have developed over the course of many years. Blom Consultancy brings this unique combination of knowledge together in its ‘Lean Healthcare’ approach. ‘Lean Healthcare’ draws on knowledge of the philosophy and principles behind ‘Zero Defects’ and ‘Zero Incidents’, as taken straight from the Japanese source and proven effective many times over in a wide range of different industries, whether carried top down or implemented bottom up, and applied with an unvarying respect for the local situation, the various stakeholders and, most of all, for the end result: healthcare that satisfies all parties involved!

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Productivity solutions and tools books, boards, labels, posters and more‌

F u l l F a c t - Yo u r P a r t n e r i n P r o d u c t i v i t y

World Class Six Sigma Six Sigma is a system used to realise continual improvement in the quality


of all business processes. Six Sigma

The various Sigma levels applied to spelling errors in a book

does not offer any vague intentions or half-baked theories, rather it is a

Sigma Level No. of spelling errors

structured way of explaining and


159 per page

solving problems using hard facts


23 per page


1.35 per page


1 per 31 pages


1 per bookshelf


1 per library

and figures. The objective of Six Sigma is to reduce variation, thereby making processes manageable and predictable.


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in business processes. Reducing the number of shortcomings improves the quality of the work, a fact that applies not only to production, but also to other activities such as purchasing, logistics and financial administration. The table below clearly explains the difference between the different levels, using spelling errors as an example. The levels have been calculated using statistical formulas. Many business processes are currently at a Sigma level of between 3 and 4. Within a 3-year period, Motorola succeeded in rising from level 3 to level 5.7. Companies using sigma always strive for level 6, which means that all business processes (both production and non-production) must not exceed 3.4 defects for every million tasks! In reality, this is only a fraction away from zero defects.

The Six Sigma Method The roots of Six Sigma can be traced back to Carl Friedrick Gauss (1777-1855), who introduced the concept of normal distribution. However, it was not until the 1980s, when Motorola saw that their quality levels were no longer satisfactory, that they set to work using the theories of Gauss, Shewart, Deming, Juran, Ishikawa and Taguchi. The aim was to move from measuring errors per thousand to measuring errors per million. In this way, by combining familiar tools and statistical techniques into a single programme, Motorola developed the method we now know as 6σ (Six Sigma). Six Sigma has provided Motorola with significant quantifiable improvements, resulting in billions of dollars’ worth of savings. Many companies worldwide have since adopted the Six Sigma system, the most well-known example being General Electric.

All Processes Contain Errors

Every process is subject to errors, and the number of errors that occur can be seen as a measurement for quality. Sigma is the Greek letter that is used to indicate shortcomings and deviations


The philosophy underlying Six Sigma is that processes can only be improved if they are clearly understood, which requires them to be described and measured. Six Sigma is based on statistical reasoning, and has its origins in the Deming quality cycle. The strict DMAIC project phase plan methodology is also used for problem- solving. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control. The Six Sigma ‘toolbox’ contains an impressive range of tools that are predominantly statistical in nature.

The DMAIC Funnel

The relationship between the tools and the project phases is shown in the diagram below. This funnel shows that, at the start of an improvement project, the number of potential causes (variables) of the problem to be studied is quite large. If the phases are executed properly and the correct tools are applied, at the end of the project only a few variables will remain that need to be controlled.

World Class Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a very practicable method being applied by many companies worldwide. However, despite the many success stories, even Six Sigma cannot escape the fact that the likelihood of a high level of acceptance will be lower than if a Small Group Activity (SGA) approach is applied. On the other hand, SGA’s lack of statistical tools means that it falls short when applied to complex problems. The obvious solution would be to combine both methods.


The Effectiveness of any solution will, of course, depend on its level of Quality and Acceptance (E = Q x A). Six Sigma provides the facts and statistical basis (Q), and the SGA method ensures that a solution will be accepted and maintained (A). This ‘marriage’ between SGA and Six Sigma is now a reality, and is called World Class Six Sigma.

DMAIC Funnel Phases: Steps: Define 1. Choose subject 2. Set goal 3. Investigate problem


Tools: Frame in frame out Project inventory IPO

30+ Inputs

All X’s



1st ‘Hit list’



Screened list

MSA, SPC, Process results 7 basic tools


Critical Xs found



Manage critical Xs

Improve 4. Devise solutions 5. Create implementation plan 6. Execute implementation plan Control

7. Measure impact 8. Standardize working method

Critical input variables

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DHL and Blom integrate DMAIC with SGA A global player such as DHL (subsidiary of Deutsche Post) cannot and does not want anything other than to continually improve its performance. The company has therefore set up an impressive programme called First Choice – because, after all, every company wants to be “the customer’s supplier of choice”. One of the key elements of First Choice is the DMAIC method. Using DMAIC is the perfect way to analyse and gain insight into any problems. In DMAIC, small process changes are implemented directly while complex, department-transcending problems are dealt with using First Choice Initiatives. DHL Benelux were looking for a structural way to handle problems at the team level, however. Blom Consultancy provided the solution by combining the DMAIC approach with the successful SGA (Small Group Activity) approach.

next step was to go from being not only the largest, but also the best. Or, to put it differently: they wanted to be ‘the First Choice’ company for both customers and employees. To help them reach this goal, they started the First Choice programme in mid-2006, something that involved every employee. According to DPWN, the following things are of great importance in becoming First Choice: • Fully involved management; • Motivating and involving every employee; • Controlled change in the right direction; • Continuous process improvement.


Continuous improvement is only successful, however, if handled in a structured way. The underlying methodology used within the DPWN is called the DMAIC circle, the building blocks of which derive from recognised improvement strategies such as Lean and Six Sigma. The figure below shows when particular methods are chosen and clarifies DMAIC’s central role at DPWN.

Various levels, various solution methods

In 1990, Deutsche Post began a number of internal improvement projects (primarily in German postal services). They wanted to grow to be one of the largest international logistic service providers in the world. They renamed the company Deutsche Post World Net (DPWN) and went looking for suitable companies, both domestic 60

and international, to take over. They subsequently acquired DHL in its entirety in 2002.

First Choice

After this successful period, DPWN did indeed grow to be the largest logistics provider in the world, with nearly half a million employees. The next logical

Changes have different levels: 1. Small process changes that every employee can carry out in his daily work. 2. Changes that can be made within a team (or terminal) are structured in line with the Small Group Activity (SGA) method. 3. Changes to processes that transcend department lines are too large for the SGA approach. This mostly means that a lot more data and process research is needed before anyone can find the right solution.

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C o n t ro l Co ntr ol



e ro v


Execute implementation plan


3 4

Make implementation plan

Analyse problem

Find solutions



p ro

p ro v e I m ve Im p ro




Using an SGA team to solve work problems gets employees moving and has a highly motivating effect. Starting


from the improvement team approach and a few (statistical) techniques and tools from Six Sigma. This procedure helps the SGA team members describe, research and solve the problem. Decisions are not made on the basis of feelings, but rather on the basis of facts and figures.










p Im





fine De

Measure effects

Identify goal



Six Sigma. This procedure helps the SGA team members describe, research and solve the problem. Decisions are made not on the basis of feelings, but rather on the basis of facts and figures. This new combination has not yet been given a name. At DHL they talk about process improvement – effective improvement with SGA.


an SGA team is an effective use of the knowledge, experience and creativity of employees at every level within an organisation, meaning the quality of products, services and the content of work will improve.

To give every DHL Express Benelux employee the opportunity to work with this new method, the company, with Blom Consultancy’s help, made a helpful booklet. The booklet briefly explains the framework of the First Choice programme method. Readers can then easily immerse themselves further in the theoretical background of both SGA and DMAIC. The booklet also describes many of the practical tools that the reader can put to work straight away. The booklet was made by Blom’s internal communications department and of course reflects with DHL design.

The integration

The findings

SGA makes people extremely enthusiastic. This generates a great deal of positive energy, which we can use to work together to make successful improvements. SGA also offers a clear structure that ensures changes are firmly anchored in the organisation. Obviously, SGA is an enormous help to us.

An SGA improvement team works to solve problems and improve processes in a relatively short amount of time. When solving problems, SGA team members use a structured procedure depicted in the SGA circle below. This structured procedure forces the team members first to think about the origins of the problem before trying to create solutions. This procedure is a combination of the strong points

Select subject

Standardize working method

A quote from Philip Bos

the group of employees also feel ‘ownership’ of the problem and the improvement.

De fin e



l ro

Define Defi ne


Ana lys e

De SGA approach is based on the idea that improvements thought up by a group of employees themselves are more easily accepted than improvements that are imposed from the top down. In addition to faster and better acceptance of the improvement,


n Co


In the meantime, these improvement teams have really taken off in popularity, both in and outside of Japan. Improvement teams can be found in a large number of production and service companies around the world. These improvement teams go by various names. Sometimes they are called quality circles, for example, or quality groups, company rings or Small Group Activities (SGA).


fin De

What exactly does the SGA approach entail? During the 1970s, Japan was strongly oriented towards improving the quality of its products and services. They had working groups that met regularly to study the techniques of statistical quality control and to apply what they learned. These working groups evolved into improvement groups that worked on solving concrete quality problems in their own area of expertise. Such improvement groups are called improvement teams.

Blom Consultancy has succeeded in combining the DMAIC circle and the SGA circle. The advantages of this approach are evident: this procedure is a combination of the strong points of the improvement team approach and a few (statistical) techniques and tools from

More proof that the approach is successful came with the World Class Team elections at the end of last year. A whopping three SGA teams from DHL managed to get through to the final rounds of this annual contest.

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We are moving

The time has come: the World Class Quality Management (WCQM) workshops to introduce the approach to all Smurfit Kappa Solid Board employees are about to start. The first session for the staff of the Nieuweschans branch will be held today. The workshop will be taught by the plant manager and the quality team leader, in person. These sessions will clarify the principles of a Quality Assurance (QA) environment, so people will understand better what is changing and why. Yes, today marks another milestone in the implementation of WCQM at Smurfit Kappa, a process which was set in motion several years ago.

Early in 2005, Blom consultant Mirjam ten Dam spoke to Henk Hoven, at that time the plant manager in what was still Kappa Triton in Nieuweschans. The topic of the day was controlling and improving quality. Henk said that quality was very important to the continued existence of the board factory and therefore had his constant attention. In order to make that quality a reality, they had started measuring process variation (process capability, or CP), and the score needed to go up.


This was easier said than done. Hoven and Ten Dam discussed the following questions at length: why is the CP value so important for factors like moisture? What is quality? And is Hoven's definition of quality the same as of any other random employee here? How can someone tell whether they consider quality important? An important part of the discussion was about building a sense of ownership in relation to quality, and ensuring it was felt

by all the people in the value stream. How can a smaller quality department go hand in hand with quality increases? Quality management systems come in all shapes and sizes, but only a few are truly excellent. A management system that supports a commitment to achieving World Class Performance has to be geared towards eliminating losses and should in any case not contribute to increasing them. Accordingly, excellent systems focus on two objectives:

Leading - to World Class Per formance


from QC to QA 1. Zero defects: a process that only produces products according to specifications. 2. Zero variance: a process that does not allow for any variation. Both objectives lead to high customer satisfaction and minimal production costs to make the products.

World Class Quality Management has nine golden rules: 1. The customer's requirements are known; 2. The customer's requirements are translated into verifiable product specifications; 3. Product specifications are translated into process specifications; 4. The guarantees that a product meets the specifications are provided by the person who makes the product; 5. The most important control mechanism is process control; 6. Measurement methods are validated to ensure accuracy and reproducible results; 7. All deviations in quality detected by the customer or by employees are reported and acted on; 8. Quality indicators are known and used to define priorities in improvement plans; 9. Knowledge on customers, products and processes is shared and increases. The introduction of World Class Quality Management produces a learning organisation where the customer takes centre stage; everyone knows the customer's requirements, their own individual contribution to meeting those requirements and the extent to which the requirements are met. For Henk Hoven, the matter was clear: he also wanted to implement these nine golden rules to make quality a key priority at Kappa Triton Nieuweschans. Hoven sums up the change: “Right now we’re a Quality Control or QC organisation, where a quality department measures and checks lots of things. We conduct entry inspections and lose a lot of time looking into complaints. And 63

we want to be a QA organisation, in which we control our processes, work according to a set protocol and use validated measurement methods. It is a change from QC to QA.”

The first step in that direction was interviewing various people in the organisation. The interviews made it plain that there was no clear consensus at Kappa Triton Nieuweschans about what quality actually is. Everyone did their very best to deliver quality, but primarily assumed that what was causing deviations and problems was attributable to others. People neither trusted nor understood the quality measurements. Knowledge about processes and products was shared with immediate co-workers, but the concept of sharing that knowledge with others was considered superfluous and pointless. Quality improvement projects took a long time, in part because too much was going on at once. The quality department primarily responded to indications and did not take the lead. In response to these findings, work started on validating the measurement methods. This generated a great deal of knowledge on measurement reliability and what should be done with the data. The quality department also gained a clearer understanding of their role in the process. In the meantime, Kappa Triton merged with Smurfit in 2006, forming Smurfit Kappa, and Henk Hoven is now Operations Manager at Smurfit Kappa Solid Board. He is responsible for the branches in Nieuweschans, Coevorden, Hoogkerk and Oude Pekela. One of the strategic choices for all the locations is that they want to have a QA organisation. Naturally, each location has its own point of departure, so each also takes its own route to achieve quality. Still, the plant managers at the various locations and the QA team leaders regularly touch base with each other. They discuss the status of various projects and exchange best practices. After all, why reinvent the wheel?

To get the change into full swing, the time had come to introduce everyone to the QA philosophy. The concept is explained to employees during daylong small group meetings in which they learn the essence of QA.

Over the course of that day, they hear why Smurfit Kappa chose to implement QA and what the nine golden rules are. After lunch, the nine characteristics of QA are further clarified using a game. Employees are also told what has already changed at all the locations after QA was introduced. The group was initially reluctant to embrace the concept. The prevailing idea was that QA meant that the operators would have to do a lot more measuring on the line. The resulting debate continued through the day – but by the end of the day everyone was convinced: QA is good news! We can only make it a success if we all go for it and give it 100%. And in the end, the result will be not more measuring, but less! And the customers will be satisfied.

Smurfit Kappa Smurfit Kappa Solid Board Packaging Benelux specialises in the production and sale of solid paper-based packaging for fruit, vegetables, flowers, meat and poultry, fish, liquid and many other products. The company offers a wide range of transport, consumer and retail packaging, tailored to each customer's products and specifications. Smurfit Kappa solid board packaging is distinctive in its: • Optimal logistic implementation • Customised solutions • Flexibility and efficiency • Quick, reliable deliveries • Quality and hygiene assurance

Leading - to World Class Per formance

sustain our growth and maintain an exceptional service level at acceptable cost? How can we

“How can we sustain our growth and maintain an exceptional service level at acceptable cost?” This was the main question Keytec Sárbogárd needed to answer earlier this year. For a customer active in the flat screen television market, 2008 promised to be a year with three busy seasons instead of one: the European Championships Football in Austria/ Switzerland, the Olympic Games in Beijing and the traditional Christmas period. An internal audit revealed that the site would be up to the challenge if the company could improve process flow and reduce downtimes of lines and machines.


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III. The improvements need to be sustainable. In sum, the company needed to achieve higher output using the same resources. TPM or Lean – the answer is on the shop floor To decide on the priorities, a small team observed the activities on the shop floor. The first choice to be made was between two main directions: would it be better to start with a TPM (machine-based) approach, or to focus on the flow of products and information through the factory? Though an OEE Toolkit had yet to be introduced and the measurements were scattered, OEE provided the basic decision-making premise, namely: What are the main reasons that the machine (or line) produces less than its maximum theoretical output?

Keytec is a multinational company with HQ and a development centre in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Production facilities are based in the Czech Republic, China and Hungary. With some 300 employees, the Hungarian site has three major activities: metal stamping, plastic injection moulding and assembly. The main activities in flat screen television production are metal stamping and assembly. In mid-2008, the first meeting between Keytec management and a representative of the Hungarian Blom office took place. The main results of the meeting were: I. The customer service must always comply with existing agreements. II. The cost of customer service (stock level, production cost, other infrastructural resources) should grow at a significantly slower rate than the output. 65

Observations and discussions with shop floor staff yielded the following information: • Quality is a result of the clarity and ease of work. • The availability of machines and lines were no serious issue. • The main reason for standstills and short stoppages was the unavailability of materials. • Actual tact time losses versus the standards were apparent, but had much less influence on output loss than the reason mentioned above. • The main bottleneck seemed to be assembly. Based on this information, a list of priorities was made: 1. Address quality during production itself and not as part of an overall check at the end of the process. 2. Improve the flow of materials through the factories, starting with the assembly hall. 3. Do not attempt to address tact times, but monitor development (i.e. measure and monitor, and only act if and when necessary). Action is only necessary if tact time itself becomes a bottleneck.

Despite high time pressure on the improvement schedule, the team sought ways to create optimal employee involvement. To this end, an internal facilitator was appointed and small groups were formed to tackle the different areas requiring attention. For all involved it has been and remains a matter of learning on the job! Pull production One of the major new insights generated was the fact that it is the customer who defines the production level and timing. When a customer wants a product, the company must be able to supply it within the short time span agreed upon. At the same time, the company does not want to be left with too much stock, should there be no orders. Pull production turned out to provide a means of addressing this issue. As one group member put it: “The customer is like a large hoover sucking goods from the end of the assembly line into their truck and their factory. Our task is to replenish these goods in the best possible manner.” Maximum and minimum stock levels were defined at the different levels of production, based on previous customer orders, order forecasts, supply frequencies and internal capacities. How much safety stock would be needed to ensure direct delivery to the customer? How could the company secure delivery of raw material to the assembly line? How could it ensure availability of all materials needed from internal and external suppliers for the assembly lines? And how big would the influence of Mr Murphy be, should he suddenly make an appearance? Given that there were quite a few questions to answer, the decision was made to start with a pilot on one of the assembly lines. The goal of this exercise would be to develop a working environment in which a better product could be made with less effort and which it would always be transparent whether the flow of production is secured.

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Better Products Quality must be built into the production design; quality control at the end of the process is simply not enough. Using the existing data, one of the groups analysed quality issues and worked out assembly process adjustments that could prevent these problems from recurring in the future. Several very simple but effective Poka-yoke solutions were identified and implemented, reducing rework and end-of-line quality issues significantly. Less effort Lean manufacturing identified seven losses in the production system. One of them was quality, as discussed above. Another was waiting: waiting for one step in the process to be finished before the next could start, waiting for machine maintenance following a breakdown and waiting for raw material. Waiting for materials had already been mentioned as a major factor behind assembly line downtimes during the shop floor visits and the discussions and interviews with operators and other people on the floor. What made this especially challenging was that it wasn’t clear at any moment in time when availability was in fact going to be an issue. It was just so difficult to see!

The assembly line and work areas were cleaned out completely and a new working environment was designed. Materials were prepared and put into two crates at fixed places in the work area: one for assembly and one as a backup. Whenever one of the crates was emptied, it was replenished, with the status visible for everyone on the floor. The pilot was successful and was implemented at all the other lines as well, resulting in a doubling of total assembly line output. Movements in the hall have been reduced as a result of these actions as well. People now have a better understanding of what is expected of them and therefore work more efficiently.

The next steps Since the customer is a ‘hoover’ for products, and stock replenishment is based on this, the implementation of improvements mirrored the route of the replenishment process. Assembly was already geared towards the customer, and now pre-assembly activities are being organised in the same way. As more and more people get involved, there has been a growing conviction that this is the right way to work. It just makes sense, plain and simple!

The group went to work on the waiting issue, with the main goal of always having material available at the line. All materials would need to be replenished before they went out stock and there would have to be a straightforward system for identifying stock levels at any given moment.


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C o l o ph o n World Class Magazine is a publication of Blom Consultancy bv Heuvel 11 5737 BX Lieshout (NL) T +31 (0)499 42 79 79 F +31 (0)499 42 79 78 E I

Contributors to this issue: Jeroen Neve, Arnout Orelio, Rudi Haryono, Debbie van der Heijden, Ton Aerdts, Johan Isphording, Ron Barten, Christof Frenay, Mario Marchena, Otto van der Gronden, Geert Buijsman, Henk Gelden, Coen de Haas, Ingrid Mooijman, Philip Bos, Jeroen Loeffen, Henk Hoven, Carla Latijnhouwers, Anton van Lankveld, Mirjam ten Dam, Arno Koch, Rob de Kort, Marco Tielemans, Raymond Lowis, Eef Oom, Doede Okkema, Fred Vijverstra, Paul Moeling, Metamorfose vertalingen.

Graphic Design: Rudi Haryono Nothing in this publication may be duplicated and/ or made public by means of printing, photocopying or any other way without prior permission from Blom Consultancy. If you would like to receive additional copies of the World Class Magazine, please let us know.

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