The employees have their “own” buses
At Volvo Buses in the Polish town of Wroclaw, the employees now have an unusual personal relationship with the buses they produce. Each bus in production has its own “sponsor” or “caregiver”, one of the employees, who makes sure that it receives the attention and care it deserves.
Image: Wojciech Miler is the “sponsor” of the bus behind him
To further enhance the quality of the buses
that are produced at Volvo Polska in Wroclaw, the production management team have come up with a new approach. Creating personal ties between the production staff and the buses they produce helps to increase the employees’ involvement in production.
“This project has taught me to understand just how important it is to secure the quality of our buses. I have more responsibility for ‘my’ bus and this then helps me to learn much more about the whole production process,” explains Wojciech Miler.
He works as a VPS operator at Volvo Buses in Wroclaw in Poland and is the personal sponsor or caregiver of one of the buses that is currently in production. This means that Wojciech is responsible for following the bus throughout the production process to secure top-class quality at every stage. In addition to his everyday work as an operator, he spends another 20 minutes every day on “his” bus. He is equipped with documents that help him to understand the objectives and concepts governing the building of this bus. On a large whiteboard in the production hall, there are photos of all the buses in production and a chart showing their position in the process.
Wojciech is responsible for ensuring that “his” bus passes through every work station on the board. This helps to visualise the production process and shows everyone involved the location of the buses.
“Calling it ‘my’ bus makes me feel that I own it during production and enables me to understand the importance of ensuring that our products have the best possible quality in a completely different way,” says Wojciech Miler.
This is also one important objective of the project, according to Alicja Apriasz-Matusiak, a production administration supervisor at Volvo Polska.
“When the employees feel a personal involvement in the buses, they understand just how valuable the finished buses are to customers,” she says.
The project which gives every bus its own personal sponsor or caregiver has been in progress since the end of March last year and so far 450 white- and blue-collar workers have accepted this responsibility and taken care of a bus. The overall aim of the project is for Volvo Polska to become an even better supplier to Volvo Buses’ customers.
On the side windows of Wojciech Miler’s bus there are stickers illustrating the history of the customer who has ordered this particular bus and where it is planned to operate, together with information about the customer’s country and fleet and previous buses this customer has purchased.
“We believe this will help us to improve our customer satisfaction, particularly in a challenging market situation.
When we increase our employees’ knowledge of our customers, we can enhance our quality and improve our production processes,” says Alicja Apriasz-Matusiak.