Making everyday work easier for our people is one of the fundamentals of our Employees First culture. For Hiab, this means to unify our processes to measure all employees and projects equally and eliminate the activities that do not contribute to an individual’s professional success, and in turn the customers they serve.
The history of Hiab is not long and narrow. Several companies have joined the Hiab family over the years and we are now a multi-brand operator, manufacturing and operating all over the globe. Some of our teams have had customs and processes unique to their location or equipment type, but as the world has become interdependent and collaboration tools allow us to work in new ways, we need to make sure we are all on the same page.
Though we cherish diversity and local customs, having different methodologies and processes was a hindrance to internal mobility in the company and we were sometimes comparing apples to pears. On the other hand, all of our organisations were successful in their own rights, so we could cherry-pick the best ways of working from across the globe.
As a manufacturer of the best load handling equipment on earth, a natural starting point was to start with the proven Lean manufacturing methodology that has perhaps been mostly associated with Toyota.
Operational Excellence – the foundation of easiness
Our Operational Excellence provides the framework to execute the business strategy with greater consistency and efficiency through a Lean methodology. Our Lean way of thinking ensures that we optimise our resources, people and processes to improve efficiency and eliminate those areas that do not add value (waste). It also brings a continuous improvement mindset that adds value in our operations so that we can further better serve our customers and stakeholders.
Success through Operational Excellence
As a relatively new mindset, we are already seeing the benefits of Operational Excellence locally. In particular at our Stargard Product Supply Center in Poland. With the development and adherence to working standards and indicators around SQDIP (Safety, Quality, Delivery, Inventory and Productivity), the team are experiencing safety and efficiency improvements, as well as eliminating waste in their work. Employees also now benefit from improved development and training opportunities and a systemic problem-solving approach at every level helping to eliminate the root causes of problems.
Our Director of Operations at Hiab’s Stargard Product Supply Center where the majority of the HIAB loader cranes are produced, Sebastien Gross tells us how the people at the Center are experiencing work with this new mindset. “Operational Excellence has set one, consistent development direction, which was not there before. All areas in the Product Supply Center, as well as all other production sites, have the same standards, we speak the same language and we are all moving in the same direction. This greatly facilitates mutual understanding, communication and collaboration between teams.”
He further comments that “it makes work much easier, people feel calmer and safer because they know that even if they change the stream, they will have the same standards, instructions, rules, expectations.”
Harmonising work processes globally
Our global teams work across different continents in a decentralised operating model. To successfully achieve consistency and alignment through Operational Excellence, we are harmonising our work processes through the global unifying principles we call the Hiab Business System (HBS). It provides the best practices to create clarity and continuity in our operations in areas such as; project management, sourcing, product management, marketing & branding and environment, health & safety.
Our head of Project Management Office (PMO), Martin Skogmalm, has seen significant improvements in this specific area after creating the PMO process playbook as part of the HBS commenting that “The PMO process playbook really makes life easier for our project owners. It creates a structure with set guidelines on how to set up and manage a project with templates, checklists and training. Essentially we are now comparing apples to apples and talking in a unified language where people collaborate with the same understanding. It eliminates a lot of wasted time, making our operation more efficient.”
While further commenting that “We have also seen that project managers are feeling more confident going into a project where everyone talks the same language and has a better understanding of their roles.”
Easiness through an open and active dialogue
Good working practices and processes are a good start for a successful company, but though we try to create the same easy work experience for everyone, it will not be felt the same by everyone. This is why an open dialogue and feedback is so important to us and we provide opportunities to regularly align within teams to eliminate unclarity and keep the same line of thinking. To make communication across Hiab more transparent across all levels, our President, Scott Phillips regularly has an open dialogue with employees, we have a new structure for company wide Town Halls and are working actively with our recognition programme and with an open feedback culture. Then of course, there is our annual employee survey which lets us take the pulse of the whole company anonymously and which is crucial for our target setting for the next year.
Creating a culture of Easiness throughout Hiab is crucial in providing the best possible work experience for our employees. Unified processes and open dialogue allow everyone to be measured equally and to eliminate the activities that do not contribute to the professional accomplishments of the individual or in turn the customers they serve.
By Ghita Jansson-Kiuru, VP HR / CHRO at Hiab
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