Wärtsilä’s Field Services and Workshop Operations in Dubai handles over 200 orders every month. With the help of Operational Excellence (OE) practises, they have turned around their field services order and intake process. We tell you how in our second story that profiles Rajesh Kumar from Wärtsilä Services Unit Middle East.
What is Operational Excellence? Rajesh Kumar defines it as “a matter of empowering people to own their wish lists and implement changes.”
“In every organisation, you always have opinions about how things ought to have been done for better results. Now, you actually have the power to voice it and get it done,” he adds.
In fact, Kumar, a Field Services and Workshop Operations & Resources manager for the Services Unit in the Middle East and an OE Pioneer, swears by OE and its outcomes. After all, he has witnessed the results first hand. Within a 75-day Wave period, his team met its target – ensuring that the number of declined field services jobs did not exceed 2%.
The Wave, Kumar’s first as an OE Pioneer, started with an overall goal of improving the field services order intake and delivery process. A department whose operation and resource verticals Kumar heads.
“It isn’t easy to wear the hat of OE Pioneer for your own department. You need to bring the department under a microscopic lens. Eventually, I could show the need for the whole team to undertake OE, and its benefits,” he says.
As a pioneer, Kumar began by familiarising his colleagues with the five guiding principles of OE. He did this through both formal and informal meetings.
“I tried to engage and involve them in identifying waste in the processes or during customer delivery. I encouraged them to challenge the steps with questions like why are we doing an activity? What is in it for Wärtsilä and for the customer? I also focused on the “first time right” principle and urged colleagues to deliver the “right quality” first time round. It doesn’t matter if it costs a bit more initially if it saves time and money in the long run,” he explains.
He plotted their path with a “top-down” approach. This meant complete support and prioritising of OE by the Managing Director and also an increased collaboration with the heads of various departments including Services sales, sales support, FICO and credit control.
Crucially, he revamped team meetings.
“Unlike before, we now ensure that meetings are face-to-face always, and are visual with a board to keep track of everything. The big difference, however, is that now there is an increased awareness among the team about OE. And with this awareness, comes greater focus on OE itself. All of this resulted in us reducing the number of declined jobs, tremendously,” he explains.
Kumar also credits the support from the central OE team for Wave’s success. Workshops organised on various subjects like a Wave management workshop in Vaasa helped him put things in perspective. Apart from this, he also gained new ideas by connecting and interacting with a dedicated member from the OE services team and other pioneers via Skype meetings.
Over and above organisational change, Kumar believes interpersonal skills and empathy are key in pursuing OE efforts in a team. Kumar now practices change management in his own life and calls the OE experience a gratifying one.
“It’s always great to hear appreciation from your peers and superiors. It is even better when you see people in your own team come up with new ideas and be willing to change. They now say that this is not something driven by key performance indicators, but is instead driven by a need to improve.”
He believes that OE will be an operation game changer to Wärtsilä’s future. “OE is a continuous process and we should aim to make every single employee of Wärtsilä an OE Pioneer if we are to maintain our edge,” he concludes.