Urenco Group, a successful multinational energy group, uses centrifuge technology to enrich uranium to be converted to fuel for civilian power plants.
Despite profitable performance, Urenco wanted to reduce the costs of labour and energy, recognising that its processes could be improved. We proposed initiatives to introduce lean principles under the banner ‘Working smarter - eliminating waste in all its forms'.
We pinpointed problems affecting large groups of employees and used workshops to analyse data, discuss and test options, and develop solutions. The aim was to engage fully with operatives and tem leaders to build their commitment to change.
Four core production processes were selected. They all generated big opportunities to reduce inputs. Savings of 5,400 hours a year were achieved.
- to train employees in how to recognise and measure waste
- to document plans and provide the evidence required to get managers to act
- to review progress with managers and galvanize their commitment to action
- to generate ideas for additional savings with potential to cut 5,000 more hours' work
- to embed an improvement culture throughout the business.
Paul Harding, Managing Director, commented:
'The Working Smarter initiative has engaged employees in applying their detailed understanding of the work to make small improvements: eliminating waste, simplifying processes, freeing up time for employees and benefiting the larger organisation. A number of suggestions have realised significant benefits, many more have been identified for implementation.'