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It’s Important for Holcim not Just to Achieve Results, but to Strive for Continuous Improvements

December 30, 2013

Many years ago Winston Churchill said: "Socialists believe that making a profit is a sin. I think the real sin is to suffer losses". In Russia, which is experiencing a long-running "transitional period", the profit isn’t already considered a sin, but losses are perceived as something normal, except for the business owners. The situation is changing, and business leaders are beginning to understand that it is necessary to introduce a new approach.

In June, 2013 a pilot project on Labour Efficiency Evaluation and Increase, in which World Class Operations Management approach (WCOM) was applied, was launched at "Volskcement”.

WCOM is an original integrated system, which is a structured set of tools and techniques designed to improve the efficiency of the company, specifically to reduce costs and all kinds of losses systematically, to cut down the price without decline in profits, to improve quality and consumer properties, to accelerate the process of value creation, to improve the competitiveness of the products and business. The key to success of WCOM is the participation of the plant employees of all levels in the analysis of losses and improvements, staff involvement.

Andrew Fedorchuk, Plant manager of "Volskcement ", commented on the project: "The need for increase in competitiveness, cost reduction, and as a consequence, the reduction of all kinds of expenses rises nowadays. It’s important not just to reduce costs, but to make improvements, including consumer properties and product quality. It’s necessary to make improvements in all areas, such as safety, quality, efficiency, loss reduction and the staff ".

The project objectives were:
1) loss assessment,
2) loss reduction,
3) support of the result and loss prevention.

The project was implemented with the assistance of a consulting company Solving Efeso, which consultants trained the project participants the modern world strategies of analysis and loss reduction. The main focus was on the most important elements of the strategy and specific tools. The task was to analyze and exclude all operations that do not add value, the operations that bring benefit neither to the plant nor to the customer.
Within the pilot project up four groups were formed on the basis of the main business units: Raw Material shop, Burning Department, Grinding Department and Packing Shop and Dispatch. The project participants performed a large amount of analytical work: analyzed all operations performed by the staff, analyzed the causes of loss of working time, and proposed measures for optimization and standardization.

The results of the work were: improvements at the workplaces, installation of additional equipment that allows carrying out the necessary chemical analyzes on the spot in the workshop, the creation of standard operating procedures that helped to visualize and facilitate understanding of certain processes. The time on the above-mentioned operation was reduced, and as a result, production efficiency has increased. The result of work of the teams was also relief of the working conditions.

Looking back, we realize that even at a small production site it’s possible to reduce losses, optimize operations, and eliminate errors in technology. As not much time has passed it’s too early yet to speak about the macroeconomic indicators of the plant, including increase in profits, reduction of the defect level or improving safety, but certainly the project is successful as we began to receive feedbacks: the plant employees are eager to share problems and participate in renovations. It is necessary to take into account that these changes did not demand significant financial resources, but global changes are planned for the next five years.

So, in 2014 we plan to introduce a 5C system, the system of workplace rationalization, which is based on five principles: sorting, keeping order, keeping it clean, standardization, improvement. This is serious and constant work with a significant focus on the most difficult C - the fourth and fifth.

Andrew Fedorchuk is sure that «the methods are not that important in this project, but people and their ability to build a system of constant engagement and motivation, which is 80% of success".

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Kristina Bykovskaya
Tel.: +7 (495) 745 71 31 ext. 4570
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