The journey of continuous improvement – Driving Operational Excellence

To drive Operational Excellence and build a culture of continuous improvement Filtermist’s parent company Absolent Group have appointed Dr. Johan Wollin as its Head of Operational Excellence.

Johan has a wealth of experience in this field having previously worked for Toyota Motor Europe and Volvo Construction Equipment. Here he explains how Absolent Group will approach this subject to benefit all of its global businesses:

“We are absolutely confident that our approach will be successful. This conviction is founded in the fundamental and holistic understanding where we focus on building and driving a culture where everyone is involved in continuous improvement, rather than a narrow focus on a specific tool as a short-term project or sprint.”

“This all starts by understanding that there are three main components that need to be in place to enable success:

  1. We all must live and behave according to our core values; Challenge, Continuous Improvement, Go & See, Respect and Teamwork. Through this we will set challenging targets and improve together as a team whilst building trust and collaboration.
  1. We will use the Absolent Operating System (AOS) to drive ‘problem sensitivity’. When we live and behave according to our core values, we are then ready to start seeing more gaps, improvement opportunities and problems. This is where the application of the main principles of AOS comes in to play with Standardised Work, Just-in-Time, Built-in-Quality and Flexible Manpower Systems. The full understanding of these principles, their methods and tools will enable us to see our full potential for improvement.
  1. We will apply structured problem solving to close the gap. Now that we have the core values and problem sensitivity in place, we can start to drive improvements in a structured way through the application of A3 thinking to make sure that we fully understand the problem and that the improvements we implement will be effective.

In addition to this we then need each and every team member to realise that they have four job roles:

A - Do their daily tasks

B - Improve their daily tasks

C - Improve themselves as individuals

D - Improve their teams

Historically Absolent Group has mainly focused on role A and very little on the other three roles - this is also the reason for most improvement journeys failing. If we fail to educate, train and coach every team member so that the above trinity between core values, operating system and problem solving is fully understood and internalised, then we will not be successful. Secondly, if we fail to provide resources, mostly in term of time, to work with tasks B, C and D then our pursuit will just be wishful thinking.

The good thing is that it is entirely in our own hands to accelerate training and coaching as well as providing time for improvements. There are great cases where for example half a day each week is dedicated to continuous improvement. Progress will initially be slow, but as we mature the possibilities are endless. The small simple everyday improvements where everyone is involved will result in significant change!”

Johan Wollin

Head of Operational Excellence within Absolent Group