Engineering meeting creates focus and impacts bottom line for Tongaat Hulett Starch

February 6, 2014

Do you run meetings effectively within your business? Days packed with lengthy meetings don’t always result in getting the job done or better results for the company.

Well-structured meetings are very important for the successful planning, implementation and management of physical asset management projects and daily tasks. Asset management requires detailed attention, effective response times and team effort to yield the desired results.

Pragma recently implemented their Asset Care Centre service at Tongaat Hulett Starch, a manufacturing client. After evaluating the client’s meeting structures and agendas they found that these were ineffective. Pragma identified a need to open communication channels in departments linked to Asset Care and created areas where people would be recognised for going the extra mile. Individuals’ roles and responsibilities had to be clarified and all employees had to be aligned with the common goal of making the company’s vision clear.

Pragma recommended new meeting levels and frequencies, designed and implemented meeting templates and trained meeting facilitators. Change communication was initiated, senior management buy-in and support was obtained and existing company values and meeting rules were used to drive meetings.

Roald van Zyl Smit, Pragma Asset Care Centre Manager, says: “The results were outstanding. Not only did the intervention create a focused team with daily and weekly structured meetings, but also a good understanding of roles and responsibilities. It also helped to create an inviting workplace, and improved communication internally between team members and externally towards clients. We now have a solid foundation to build on.”

The new meeting structures instilled discipline and accountability within the team and on site. “Issues are recorded for all to see, values are talked about on a weekly basis making them ‘alive’, safety is being highlighted and feeds into the plant incident logging function, and problem solving is discussed with real problems at hand. Furthermore recognition is given and displayed across the plant on noticeboards. Focused improvement projects are identified and recorded in the meeting templates, and all meetings linked to Asset Care were changed to follow the template of the new meeting structures. Lastly, the developed communication plan now flows to all meetings,” concludes Van Zyl Smit.

Safety, which is a key imperative in any manufacturing business, is given priority in the meeting structure and workers at the shop floor, i.e. artisans, operators and safety reps, are given autonomy to raise any unsafe condition or practice in the structured forum, and hold engineers and management accountable for progress.

“The meeting structures have brought structure and discipline to our operation,” says Lorenzo Naidoo, General Manager of Tongaat Hulett Starch. “I’m especially impressed with how the company values are dynamically integrated into the meeting structure, so people not only see them daily, but hold each other accountable to them. By the end of the week all individuals and teams recognised for positive behaviours in alignment with organisational values are posted on noticeboards, thus reinforcing these desired behaviours. How different from the typical values that are framed to hang on office walls, which people no longer notice!”

Implementing meeting structures is not rocket science, but to be sustained it takes proper planning, discipline, buy-in and participation from all contributors. Such a small change has a direct impact on the efficiency and morale of the team and the productivity and effectiveness of the operation, saving costs and raising profits.

Although it takes time to change the behaviour of people, improvements at this client could be seen within six weeks, proving that the company was serious about changing their ineffective ways and taking all stakeholders on board to create a new sustainable culture.

Companies interested in finding out how Pragma’s Asset Care Centre Service and Focused Improvement process can create value and add benefit to their operation can visit www.pragmaworld.net or phone +27 21 943 3900.

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