This potato processor’s objective is to see its six European production sites going paperless. The ease of use and visual display in the EZ-GO app are particularly appealing. ‘This is going to make work easier for our people’. The Lamb Weston / Meijer team is vigorously addressing implementation and has achieved quick results.
Ease of use and visualisation
Lamb Weston / Meijer is a global leader in frozen and dried potato products. They have four plants in the Netherlands, as well as production sites in Austria and the UK. Niels Platschorre is Plant Quality Assurance Manager at the Kruiningen location.
He says: ‘We are constantly looking for new ways of improving our internal processes and achieve sustainability commitments between now and 2030. For instance, our business unit leader decided to investigate the potential for a paperless factory. You see, our plants were still using paper checklists and instructions, which is outdated. We looked at a variety of systems, but EZ-GO really stood out. This app is user-friendly, and the visual representation of core tasks makes it abundantly clear how something needs to be done. It also makes the work more transferable, which is especially useful for new employees. Finally, we like the fact that we can manage content ourselves, without having to be a computer wizard.’
Starting out with 1 production line
In order to test the EZ-GO platform’s features. Kruiningen started out with one production line. ‘In doing so, we certainly made use of all features of the app,’ says Platschorre. ‘For example, we introduced employees to all the possibilities, including checklists, core tasks, work instructions and the audit function. We set aside ten weeks for this trial, including evaluation. After evaluation, we knew for certain that we wanted the app in all our plants. We subsequently created project teams, carrying out implementation on the various lines and locations throughout the year.’
‘In doing so, we made a very conscious decision to only transfer existing checklists and instructions. Working with a new app represents a considerable change for users. We therefore wanted to make it as accessible as possible and only add new features at a later date. This is very easy to do, by the way, once the app is up and running.’
“After evaluation, we knew for certain that we wanted the app in all our plants.”
SUPERVISION OF EZ FACTORY
Although implementing EZ-GO is relatively easy, it does take some time. Which is why operators at our sites were given the opportunity to prepare, which included taking the necessary photos and videos. Actually converting all the information took an average of two to three days per location. On these days, employees were fully freed up for this purpose.
It helps if there is an ‘incentive’ if you want to proceed quickly and expeditiously. Platschorre: ‘EZ Factory has a certain format for implementation which helps to achieve this within a short period of time. For example, you are taken through the correct steps and sequence, with meetings and progress reviews scheduled in advance. This sometimes feels a bit coercive, but does help enormously. Moreover, our project manager at EZ Factory, Jorn Salverda, also gave us a few tips during this process. These, in turn, are based on experiences with other clients – for instance, on frequencies of certain checks, or linking tasks to checklists. This also facilitates the progress of such projects.’
TRAINING & PRACTICE
Higher implementation rate
Implementation began in Kruiningen in early 2022 and was completed within six months. The three other Dutch sites quickly followed, benefiting from each other’s experiences. Now, as 2022 comes to a close, implementation in the Netherlands is almost complete. In order to keep momentum going optimally, EZ Factory supervised implementation at all locations. With paper almost completely disappearing from the workplace, digitisation has clearly succeeded.
‘Along the way, we saw the implementation rate of tasks and the commitment of operators and supervisors steadily increase,’ says Platschorre. ‘Increasing productivity isn’t per se the reason why we are using EZ-GO; we are, however, convinced that the correct implementation of tasks and checklists does contribute positively to productivity.’
Skills matrix for employee skills
All locations are now working with checklists, core tasks and audits. Our Broekhuizenvorst location has also started using the skills matrix. Platschorre: ‘At Lamb Weston / Meijer, we had been looking for a way to identify employees’ skills for some time. Every location had its own way of doing this. The module in the EZ-GO platform seems to be the perfect solution for us. They are now testing it in Broekhuizenvorst, and, if this test goes well, we will have a solution for all our locations.’
It’s still a work in progress, Platschorre concludes: ‘We definitely still want to connect the locations in Austria and the UK to the EZ-GO platform; in addition, there are still some components in our own factories we want to include in EZ-GO. Moreover, the EZ-GO platform invites users to create actions and comments, which we can subsequently use to improve our processes. This allows us to keep developing. Finally, EZ Factory isn’t exactly resting on its laurels either. For example, they take on board user feedback and add new functionalities regularly, which we always look forward to with interest.’