Factory eliminates paperwork
Superfos digitalises their own processes and registrations. In 2016, all registrations at Superfos were done on paper forms and tasks were handed out manually at the start of each shift. Today, employees use Gluu’s app to complete more than 25,000 tasks and registrations each year. This digitalisation saves time, leads to shorter response times and fewer errors.
The Randers factory does injection moulding. During three shifts, 110 workers operate 67 automated machines to produce around one billion plastic items annually.
Superfos must comply with quality, health and safety and environmental regulations. Furthermore, there is also a lot of maintenance and servicing of production cells and peripheral equipment.
Previously, the company used classic quality management software to maintain the work processes in their management system. This only covered document maintenance. All work tasks had to be delegated manually by the shift manager at the beginning of each shift. Required work registrations were done on paper forms.
How to standardise and improve daily work
The leadership team then formed a vision to initiate more employee-driven improvement and digitalise the handling of manual tasks.
This should lead to a faster cycle of process improvement based on standard work that would result in time-saving and fewer errors.
To let managers digitalise their own process flows in Gluu
After careful selection, Superfos chose Gluu since it allowed them to draw workflows and then add work instructions and tasks, which are then shown on Android devices that workers use during the actual task execution.
With this setup, they get instant feedback and can modify and communicate in a single flow as instructions are improved.
“With the Gluu platform, we are able to find new improvement opportunities, as it is easier to understand and optimise our cross-functional processes from initial order taking all the way through to production. At the same time, Gluu makes it possible for our own employees to digitise our paper forms via a simple form builder. We see big-time savings by not having to handle our record keeping on paper anymore. Our registrations happen inside the app now.”
-Jakob Lund, factory manager at Superfos in Randers.
Seven steps to digitise the factory
The factory made a plan for a gradual digitalisation through the following steps:
- Prepare a process hierarchy
- Map all critical processes and roles
- Add standard work instructions for each activity in each process
- Recreate all forms digitally in Gluu
- Define and add tasks (with the new forms)
- Test and adjust
- Deploy to operations – process by process
It was vital that the implementation could be done next to daily operations since there could be no downtime.
Setting up the value chain in Gluu
First, they created an overview of the primary
processes in the factory value chain. This covered all the main activities from an order came in until the finished product had been delivered to the customer. Each main step became its own process group in Gluu. They then re-evaluated all key processes, workflows and work instructions.
Where the Gluu process map shows “who is responsible for what”, each activity contains instructions to clarify “how the work should be done”.
Going from text to video instructions via apps
After mapping out and drawing the workflows, work instructions were added. Good work
instructions were essential to getting each worker to perform the task in exactly the same way every time.
The challenge was that many workers are not strong readers and prefer visual instructions to text. With Gluu it was possible to replace text on paper with images and video in the Gluu app.
Digitalising paper forms
Each paper form was then recreated digitally in Gluu. This made forms more intelligent, shorter and more focused on each task. The new simpler and shorter forms are easier to read so a worker does not have to decide whether to fill in a number of redundant fields. The digital forms cannot be submitted until they are filled incorrectly. This eliminated the work with following up on incomplete forms.
“It’s nothing new that a form can be digitalised. You can always get a developer to do that. Gluu allows you to bridge the gap between the relatively few employees that work with defining processes and the many employees working within the process. In this way, Gluu links strategy and execution more closely. The platform requires no IT-knowledge aside from being able to use a smartphone or tablet. Therefore, we see that process improvements often happen by themselves – simply by giving the people that do the work the right tools,”
-Søren Pommer, Managing Director of Gluu
Setting up recurring tasks
The final step was adding each regular control or the task to the right activity in Gluu. For example, one the task is to perform the cleaning of machine S-129 every day at 7 am with a deadline the following day at 7 am.
As soon as a task has been added to the system, Gluu will automatically generate the task on the set time and for as long as the task settings state. Workers then confirm task completion by a single touch (and perhaps a photo). This automates task management and these registrations generate consistent data to be analyzed for improvement possibilities by process owners.
Results start to show
During 2018 Superfos really started to see the impact of their digitalisation. At this point, they had fully overcome the initial resistance that is often seen when introducing “yet another new IT system”.
2019 – a common place for work
Also, their gradual approach process by process ensured a close, ongoing dialogue with all key stakeholders. This helped them to resolve issues such as Wi-Fi coverage, bugs, process adjustments needed etc. early on.
Now Superfos has one common standard and for recurring work. This means that all processes, instructions, roles, and tasks are managed and displayed in a common format. Having this has made it much easier to standardise work and ensure ongoing improvement. It has also given employees one place to go when they are looking for information about how to do a certain job.
Their next steps with digitalisation
Now that the production line itself has gone through digitalisation, they are continuing with the rest of the factory. This is about managing all tasks according to standardised processes so that they proceed with digitalising all the activities from receiving orders, to the production setup and all the way to delivery at the customer’s warehouse.
This year they are also planning to let employees start on-demand processes directly from Gluu, creating a movement of data from employees into the system instead of the system only generating data towards the employees (tasks and work instructions).
Now that the easy-pickings have been achieved, a true end-to-end perspective will lead them to even more options for improvement.
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