The plant, with approximately 310 employees, has been in Bangalore since 1998 and for many years it was a Completely Knocked Down (CKD) plant for Volvo trucks. Since the beginning of 2015, the plant has also been producing the Eicher Pro 8000, which is built completely from scratch.
“Completely Built Up (CBU) calls for entirely different processes and imposes other demands for delivery and quality assurance of components in Asia. This is going to be a world-class plant and my mission has been to make sure that the transformation is effective,” explains Plant Manager Helén Savmyr.
When she took on her appointment in 2013, Helén Savmyr implemented a change and improvement programme. The method used is based on “The 7 Step Improvement Cycle”. The method includes developing clearly defined targets and a plan for realizing them. Leadership has played a central role.
“It has a decisive impact on the culture at a workplace. To make change a living process in people’s everyday lives, all the managers need to share the same vision and mission. We must work according to the same action plan and have the same understanding of the changes that need to be made,” says Helén Savmyr.
The improvement cycle involves the entire organisation and creates a shared vision. All our teams use it in the same way to achieve their performance goals.
After each cycle, which lasts for a year, an evaluation is made to see what has gone well and what needs improving.
“It has been really good having these tools to work with. They make it easier to see whether we have made the right decisions and what we are going to focus on and why,” says Helén Savmyr.
Every month, communication meetings are held at which all the employees are informed about the results, the improvements that have been made and the challenges that lie ahead.
The winners of different competitions are also announced at the communication meetings. Individual employees and teams are presented with awards depending on the number of improvement ideas they have submitted.
“Recognition acts as inspiration. More and more people are understanding what needs to be done and what can be improved,” explains Helén Savmyr.
The safety culture has been one of the most important focal points since the beginning. During the last year, the employees have also worked a great deal on quality assurance and delivery precision.
“Everyone is involved in this work. During the first year, our target was to identify 2,000 unsafe conditions and acts. In 2015, we identified more than 5,000,” says Helén Savmyr.
New leadership roles and new divisions of responsibility have also been introduced at the plant.
Two internal consultants have been trained and are now responsible for training the management team and the production leaders.
“They both come from India. It’s important that they come from here and understand the culture,” says Helén Savmyr.
It is about a year since the first Eicher Pro 8000 left the plant. Even if there is still some way to go before the production targets are met, Helén Savmyr feels that the plant is well on the way to realising them.
“Implementing change takes time. At the same time, I sense tremendous determination and loyalty among the employees. They are proud to work for the Volvo Group,” she says.