Linfox Logistics NZ share their process improvement tips.

Today’s Tips from the Trenches Contributor: Wendy Mallowes.

National Inventory & Process Manager, Linfox NZ 
As National Inventory & Process Manager for Linfox Logistics NZ, and the NZ “LeanFOX” mentor, Wendy is challenged with introducing Lean initiatives and driving continuous improvement across the Linfox NZ business.

Linfox NZ is part of a rapidly expanding logistics organization with operations throughout Australia, Asia and New Zealand and more than 24,000 people in 10 countries. 

The Process Improvement Tips from the Trenches blog series shares process improvement tips, tricks and recommendations from process management professionals around the world. This week's expert is Wendy Mallowes from Linfox.

As National Inventory & Process Manager for Linfox Logistics NZ, and the NZ “LeanFOX” mentor, Wendy is challenged with introducing Lean initiatives and driving continuous improvement across the Linfox NZ business.

Why is process important to your organization?

Consistent, standardized processes are critical in the eyes of our customers. They help us meet our service goals.  With more than 800 employees in New Zealand, we can’t afford to have everyone doing their own thing.  We need consistency with everyone on the same path.  We are also regularly audited by both our customers and government departments such as the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).  Our processes are a significant part of these audits.

What are your biggest process management challenges?

  1. Compliance: Ensuring each site (branch) adheres to the processes and if they have a legitimate reason for deviating from standards, that they document their process variations. Also, if they find better ways to perform a process, we want to make sure they share that knowledge so that all of our sites can benefit.
  2. Engagement: Getting staff to see our Process Management tool as a system that will benefit them, and not just another system that creates more work for them.

What works well at your company?

Managing incidents and improvements with the Promapp Improvement Module, and in particular Health, Safety, Security & Environment (HSSE) reporting. This has been extremely successful, largely due to how easy it is for staff to populate the templates – they don’t have to fill in lots of paper forms. Also the reports are not lost before they’re submitted.  This used to happen so frequently with the paper based / spreadsheet methods we used previously.

What’s the most unusual approach to process improvement you’ve tried?

Nothing really unusual, but I have found two things that have been particularly successful for us:

  1. Removing key documents from the shared drive and only having them accessible in our Process Management tool drives engagement (e.g. Annual leave forms, HSSE Policies etc.)

  2. Including process management related goals in Staff Performance Plans.  Our end of year reviews have an impact on salary increases so that’s a real motivator for staff to update and complete their processes!

And, we are about to run the below competition in our next company newsletter with the goal of further increasing awareness and engagement with our process management efforts and our process management software, around the country.

What’s your top Tip from the Trenches, (a process improvement recommendation for other organizations)?

When selecting Process Champions, choose people who are passionate about process.  Don’t just select people based on their role in the business.  They need to be good influencers and have some autonomy to ensure the success of the system. 

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