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The improvement work program in KAEFER Energy

Aug 27, 2020

KAEFER Energy has implemented a comprehensive Lean program over the past seven years.


In addition to training several qualified Lean managers, many employees have been trained and coached in various Lean methodologies. KAEFER Energy has been awarded several prizes for its improvement work, both from external players, and from the Group, and is gaining great recognition for the company's efficiency program.

Lean-leder Stian Skagen
Det viktig at vi er tett på der hvor verdiskapningen skjer, bekrefter Lean-leder Stian Skagen.

Employees take ownership

Employees have developed a great ownership for the improvement projects.  We observe motivation and commitment at all levels, across installations, shifts and disciplines. Due to the structured improvement work and our employees' ownership and efforts, we compete in the top within HSE, productivity and quality. The working environment we create together and the collaboration internally and with the customers, creates a good foundation for added value also for our customers, and together we work smart, safe, according to plan and with good quality of deliveries - all in a cost-effective way!

Stian Skagen, has worked as a Lean leader in KAEFER Energy for several years and has a great engagement to the basic principles within the Lean philosophy, and as Stian points out, the work is mainly about streamline the operations, and thus deliver increased customer value at the right time and agreed quality.

Stian, please tell us about your tasks and what lies in the Lean leadership role.

To motivate, inspire and train our colleagues in seeking and implementing improvements are the most important tasks we have as Lean leaders. As a Lean leader, we have been trained in the different tools used to work in a structured and targeted manner within improvement initiatives. We take the tools further in to the projects, so that we can train our employees how improving the workplace. A Lean leader's focus is to enable our colleagues to further improve their work processes.

What do you emphases’ in the start-up phase of a Lean project, and which efforts are important for our employees to continue the search of continuous improvement initiatives when the Lean leader is not present, or no longer a part of a Lean project?

When we start a Lean project, it is important that we are close to where the value-added activities are taking place; we must observe the workplaces, processes and activities. It is important to have the Dialogue with operators and formen. What can be improved and what provides valuable information that I can take with me further? Where does the waste happens? What can be done to improve the working day of our employees?” These are just some of the questions we ask and discuss in the start-up phase of a project. For the improvements to be maintained, it is important that everyone takes ownership of the improvements that are established, and we are dependent on everyone who works with us trying to improve their processes.

What does KAEFER Energy achieve by making the working day and work processes more efficient and structured, and do we see any concrete results from the work that has been done so far?

Through our improvement work and awareness around 5S, we have contributed to increased safety and improved our working environment. Systematizing and standardizing tool cabinets, warehouses and the workplace mean that we work in a much tidier environment, where we know where things are placed. A tidy and structured environment creates increased well-being in the workplace. In a market where we compete to win new contracts, we have a big advantage when we can point to the company's focus areas on increased customer value, good HSE results and a culture of improvement. This in turn makes KAEFER Energy a preferred supplier, which creates revenue and thus enables investments within innovation. 

The synergies of working with continuous improvement are several. This year, we were awarded the "Lean Award - Best Performance 2019" and "Best Performing Business 2019" from the KAEFER Group - a great recognition for the work everyone in KAEFER Energy does.

Improvement work in the projects

For our customers, it is important that the utility value of KAEFER Energy's products and services is delivered as agreed.

KAEFER Energy focuses heavily on the improvement work in the projects and follows the main theory within Lean work; it is the personnel in operations and production who carry out the practical improvement work. Therefore, it is especially important to facilitate training and involvement for performing personnel in the improvement work.

We ask our new employed Lean manager Kari Bruntveit if she can elaborate on what lies in the concept of practical improvement work, and why it is so important that operation staff at the various workplaces should take the main responsibility for continuous improvement work?

What I like about Lean is that it is tangible. It gives you the answer on how to navigate the improvement work. The Lean philosophy is intended to be used in operations – where the value-added takes place. By practical improvement work we mean how we organize our workplace to ensure the best possible flow, eliminate waiting, reduce transport or unnecessary movements etc. A practical improvement could be to introduce 5S at the workbench, where the tool has a fixed place. In this way you do not have to spend time looking for tools. Untidiness can also be the cause of work accidents. The small improvements you make, in your every day that make KAEFER Energy to be a sustainable and competitive workplace.

Lean-leder Kari Bruntveit
Det er utførende personell som er ekspertene på utførelsen av jobben. Det er ingen som vet bedre hvordan jobben skal uføres, hvor skoen trykker eller hvordan man kan forbedre egen arbeidsprosess" påpeker, Lean-leder Kari Bruntveit.

It is important that personnel who is executing the work have the ownership of continuous improvement work. The value-added is the core of what we do - our income base. It is our employees who are the experts in the execution of the job. No one knows better how to perform the job and how to improve your own work process. To create a winning culture, we must create an environment where everyone can participate, everyone contributes, everyone is necessary, everyone is useful, everyone is involved and creates results. Everyone wants to do a good job if you get the opportunity and the right conditions.

What is important to emphasize related to Lean training of operating personnel, and how can involvement and commitment to the improvement work continue so that it becomes a mindset for everyone?

By making everyone responsible for the result, for the working methods and changes in the way of working, requires training. Lean leaders’ role is facilitating, inspiring and providing support so that we enable our colleagues to improve their work processes - everyone must be involved. As one feels secure, the individual manager, process owner and employee will increasingly be able to initiate, lead and carry out improvement activities on their own.To maintain a sustained commitment, a combination of recognize the teams for good performance, clarifying expectations, involvement, caring, following up, asking, be on site, motivate and inspire - be good keywords.

For long lasting improvements, it is important to ensure a system for follow-up. Line management must be part of the team on the workplace and follow up the improvement activities. We must show that it is important and applies to everyone. The team can also discuss what it takes for the improvement to be lasting. Maybe you find out that you want to establish area managers or maybe daily 5S rounds. It is important to have a continuous focus on the activities, and demand for results from the top management via the middle management.