Lean Delivers Efficiency at CHEP

The Customer

CHEP was founded in 1946 and today they have become a global leader in pallet and container pooling services. CHEP is part of the Brambles group and has around 12,500 employees across 60 global locations. In Australia, they employ over 1,000 people. The Erskine Park plant in New South Wales has around 70 people.

The Challenge

CHEP Australia was facing increasing cost pressures to optimise processes and eliminate waste, especially within the pallet repair area at Erskine Park. The site had been applying the principals of Lean Manufacturing at a manager level, but Lean principles hadn’t filtered down to the operator level and no training had been conducted.

Excellent Outcomes at a Glance

  • Delivery: The pallet repair process is more streamlined and efficient
  • Delivery: Improved Productivity
  • People: Staff now have a voice and help to identify and resolve problems
  • Safety: Employees now have a deeper understanding of WHS policies and know why they are required and are less frustrated by them
A verification in pallet repair was causing line stoppages, which resulted in time wasted and double handling. Keeping employees safe is a priority at CHEP. For management, it’s vital that everyone understand workplace safety and company WHS policies.

Solution

CHEP engaged Corporate Partners to deliver Visual performance Management training from the Competitive Systems & Practices Training Package. This meant that trainees achieved a part qualification in Competitive Systems and Practices, which expanded their skill set and provided CHEP with the assistance they needed to fully embrace Lean Manufacturing.

“We decided to go with Corporate Partners due to their impressive track record. We realised their expertise and unique approach would be a huge benefit to our team” said Mat Karbowiak.

The Corporate Partners approach to Lean manufacturing is to work in the business and gain a firm understanding of the issues, then arm trainees with the tools and knowledge they need to drive continuous improvement and efficiency.

Establishing Standard Work Practices

To gain a better understanding of the issues impacting the pallet repair process, Video-Based Behavioural Analysis was used. Each operator was captured on video while doing their job. The video was analysed by the training group in order to establish the best work practices. This enabled the team to outline a standard work practice and ensure everyone follows the same process. The result was a more consistent level of quality and a reduction in errors as well as the removal of waste from the pallet repair process.

Once the standard work practice was agreed upon, employees were captured on video performing pallet repairs following the new work standard. This footage is used for on-going staff training and to help maintain all aspects of the agreed standard work.

Prior to the training, the site had Pallet Repair Champions. These employees are vital to ensuring the new work standard is adhered to. They will regularly video employees performing pallet repairs and later meet with them to highlight any deviations to the agreed standard work.

The workforce at CHEP Erskine Park is multicultural, and for many English is a second language. The use of Video-Based Behavioural Analysis helped the training group to communicate and understand the concepts more effectively than reading a document or attending theory based training.

Customised Training

“One of the benefits we found working with Corporate Partners was their customised approach, all training was conducted at our site and based on our policies and business, which made the training more effective,” said Mr Karbowiak. “The trainer was very hands-on, which helped him to build up a rapport with our staff very quickly, that’s the difference between a good trainer and a great trainer”.

“I was impressed with the approach Corporate Partners took, by rolling their sleeves up and getting involved in the business, it meant they quickly understood the issues and identified the right tools,” said Mr Karbowiak. “It also meant we had an additional experienced resource on hand to drive project outcomes.”

“The approach also meant that the team were given the tools and knowledge they need to drive efficiency and improvements well after Corporate Partners have finished.”

Attending the training helped staff to develop a deep understanding of how the various sections of the business work. They now know how work is prioritised and the knowledge helps them to make better decisions.

One of the goals of the training is to give employees a voice, working at the coalface they are well placed to identify issues and come up with solutions to problems before they are escalated to management. When staff feel empowered they are more involved with the work they do and they are generally happier. “The training really helped the quieter people to speak up and be heard when previously they never spoke in meetings, now they are actively participating in problem-solving, which is a great result,” said Mr Karbowiak.
Understanding Work Health Safety

The training allowed CHEP employees to find out more about Work Health and Safety (WHS), it provided staff with a deeper knowledge of WHS and company policies. “Completing the WHS training was enlightening for the group, it also removed the frustration that some employees had with these processes,” said Mr Karbowiak.

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“While it’s still early days, we fully expect a financial return in the coming months, we have already experienced an uplift in productivity which will continue to improve.” – General Manager