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DE Masterblenders 1753

Influence from the source

"It is surprising for people to see how great their influence is on the process." Henk Klijnstra, of DE Master Blenders 1753 in Joure, sums up where the strength of his improvement programme lies. In recent months, he has addressed the routing and processing of faults and is counting on a long-term effect.

Keep looking for the root cause

The number of faults in the systems at DE Master Blenders 1753 is relatively low. In the plants, coffee beans are roasted and ground and coffee is made and concentrated. But as manager of the Technical Department and leader of the continuous improvement team, Henk Klijnstra and his team saw that the fault handling process could be made still more effective.  A programme was drawn up with CoThink, in which the technicians are trained, in the case of faults, also to search for the root cause of the problem. Klijnstra: "If you keep looking hard enough, you will get to the root cause of the problem. In that way, sometimes causes come to light that would not normally surface quickly, such as the human factor when it appears that a lack of knowledge has caused the fault." If the operators' knowledge in regard to a specific situation is then enhanced, that can deliver a  long-term positive effect throughout the plant.

Nonetheless, offering a means to solve faults is only the beginning. The success lies  above all in keeping it that way. That is why all faults are handled in the same way. The analysis is discussed with the managers and this in turn also gives feedback on the process. In this way, team leaders know what is happening and how it is being addressed. Klijnstra: "The most effective way of coaching is to identify what went well. What you achieve by this, is to get people to convert uncertainties into actions. They keep looking!"

Audits give focus

The discussions between the leaders and the technicians are also audited. There is a strong focus on the surrounding circumstances. Klijnstra: "If, as a company, we find these discussions important, we also need to show this to everyone. The audits, for example, consider the preparation for the discussion, phones are switched off, the process is correct, the agenda is followed, the consultations take place standing. All these things count towards the score that is fed back to the MT. And depending on the score, the talks are assisted, first more and then less intensively." This approach is used throughout the plant. It was already a success in Production and then the Technical Department was also involved. Any exception must be justified and so everyone is involved in the process.

Involve employees by giving a breakdown of the KPI 

Klijnstra: "Change processes take time and effort. It is therefore important to involve people from an early stage. Explain why you want it and which factory performance indicator is affected by someone”. Klijnstra has made a so-called KPI breakdown for the people and so people see which dials on the factory dashboard they can influence. Klijnstra: "It is surprising for people to see how great their influence is on the process."

Would you like to know more? Call Jan Willem Vernhout on +31613140979 or e-mail him

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