What is CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT and what does it mean for trucking companies and drivers?
They knew that Domett had always had a name for quality, well balanced trailers in New Zealand but they also knew they needed to get better and to continue getting better if they were to keep their place as a leading trailer manufacturer.
The concept of Continuous Improvement was nothing new to Andy and Paul but applying it to the Domett way would be the challenge. Backed by empowering a ‘team of teams culture’ and by tasking Malcolm Bangs the core function of driving it, they set about creating and implementing a programme of Continuous Improvement across the business.
Starting on the factory floor, getting staff on board would be critical. That started by engaging all staff in the discussions and plans for the changes that were going to occur. Change can be upsetting but for Domett, it has ultimately paid off, says Malcolm “we knew we had to change the way we were doing things and that this could be a bit of an upheaval to some people. In fact, the opposite occurred. Staff quickly got on board, morale improved, and general workplace safety improved dramatically.”
With staff on board, systems and procedures were developed to make sure the factory floor was operating efficiently. Staff were all empowered to develop the systems they worked on and to refine and improve them as they worked. In this way staff would “own” their workspace and their work, resulting in better quality along the production line.
All systems and procedures were documented and continue to be refined, and each trailers build recorded in every part of the manufacturing process. In essence, Continuous Improvement has allowed Domett to provide each customer with an individualised story about the build of their trailer whilst also providing themselves with valuable insight into the manufacturing process.
Two years into the Continuous Improvement programme and Malcolm says “the results have been amazing. It’s been hard work, but the end game means we are all getting better at our jobs, producing more consistent, high quality trailers for our customers and have happier, more engaged staff. These results mean it is well worth the effort.”
For their customers, this drive to Continuous Improvement means there is a clear focus on delivering a continuous, consistent and high-quality product. Gone are the days of inconsistent quality rolling off the factory floor.
So far using this new way of thinking, Domett have achieved the following:
- Greater stability
- Increased payload weights
- Lower tare weights
- Higher overall quality & finish
- Fewer health & safety issues during manufacturing
- Higher staff satisfaction and morale