On Thursday 26 October 2023, ODI hosted a Conference – Operations Excellence: A Never-ending Journey, at the Premier Hotel OR Tambo in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A line-up of excellent speakers, long-time and new implementations, from manufacturing, production, HR, Retail and administrative industries, shared their best practices and learnings.
Registration to this event happened promptly at 07:30 while delegates enjoyed refreshments before the event started.
ODI’s Director, Johan Benadie, welcomed the delegates and explained the agenda for the day.
1st Speaker: Yoshi Kobayashi, President, PDI Japan
Topic of discussion: 20 Keys in South Africa and Japan
Yoshi gave a brief history of PDI and ODI, of 20 Keys and of the international conferences.
He mentioned the importance of the fundamental principles of Operations Excellence and identified the need for the incorporation of current technologies.
He reminded the audience of the circular image of the 20 Keys system implying motion which leads to culture change.
His definition of Operations Excellence: Operations Excellence is a never-ending journey of strengthening the organisation and improving QCDSM.
Yoshi shared with the audience the results of a successful 20 Keys implementation at a Food Company in Japan. While Sales volume was 25% lower, the GP margin increased with 6% over the same period. Yoshi described the steps of how the results were achieved and how the different Keys were leveraged to achieve specific outcomes. When referring to Productivity, he reminded the audience of People-hour productivity, not just machine work rates.
Yoshi concluded his presentation by saying that the Keys all work together to make a large impact on QCDSM and the profit of the company.
2ND SPEAKER: MARTIN PREECE, INTERIM CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, GOLD FIELDS LTD
TOPIC OF DISCUSSION: UNLEASHING THE POTENTIAL OF PEOPLE: THE KEY TO UNLOCKING A CULTURE OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
Martin opened the presentation by explaining that continuous improvement is essential since the world is changing and workplace risks are increasing.
Adopting a mindset of continuous improvement is essential to navigate the complex challenges of the 21st century.
The Gold Fields journey started 12 years ago when the South Deep Mine was showing negative nett cash flow for a few consecutive years.
Explaining the CAPDo cycle – It’s not finding a method that works and sticking with it. It’s looking at where you are today, setting a goal and doing what needs to be done to reach that goal.
Once that goal is met, you start again, finding ways to improve further. It doesn’t matter what kind of industry or business you’re in — a continuous improvement approach is necessary to keep ahead of the game.
Martin shared the implementation of their continuous improvement journey which they named “Siyaphambili”.
When you change mindsets, you influence behaviour, which shifts culture to drive continuous improvement.
The journey starts at the bottom with
- shaping the culture,
- building capacity (enabled and capable people),
- manage the work (doing things the right way – the first time),
- improve the work and
- sustain the improvement.
Martin described each of the 5 steps in depth. He made an interesting comment about leadership saying that they have a disproportionate outcome on results.
Develop a capable, accountable, and engaged workforce as a key enabler for the creation of sustainable improvement.
When it comes to Building Capacity, Gold Fields started with an integrated assessment of their front-line leaders on four dimensions which lead to a development plan and related skills/competence building.
Gold Fields partnered with ODI to facilitate the skill building and development of their front-line leaders by doing the following learnerships:
- National Certificate: Management ID83946 NQF3
- National Certificate: Generic Management ID59201 NQF5
Martin explained their Meeting Areas focusses on 3 things;
1 Effective team engagement,
2 Root Cause Analysis and
3 Continuous Improvement.
He emphasised the importance of accountability and ownership when it comes to updating the charts – ugly, but effective.
Martin concluded by showing the results of the last 5 years showing an increasingly positive net cash flow.
It’s critical to remember this is not the destination but merely the start of our journey.
3RD SPEAKER: Francois Sieberhagen, Executive Head Human Resources
VKB Group Human Capital: Our Journey to Excellence
Francois started off by explaining the significance of Human Capital to follow an operations excellence journey because of its many moving parts and the massive impact that the Human Capital department has on people which are directly responsible for operations. He used the analogy of an aeroplane saying that there is a left wing which is the S.M.A.R.T wing and then there is the People wing, both wings have to be functioning well in order for the plane to keep flying.
The WHY of the VKB Human Capital team: We need to create an environment and healthy culture where our VKB employees find
- meaningful employment,
- build lasting relationships,
- be emotionally committed to the company and through that all,
- reach their full potential.
They embarked on a mission to become 100% paperless in the Human Capital environment. They started their journey in 2018 with Key 1 and removed almost 20 tons of paper. After attending the ODI conference in 2019, the team decided to take on more Keys and aim for Excellence.
The HC team implemented SLAs and started with daily measurements which was challenging to establish in an administrative environment.
In 2021 – Johan Benadie from ODI completed a Benchmarking assessment on all Keys in the HC department.
The team started with MB health checks and recording the number of suggestions implemented (Key 3) – 237 suggestions implemented in 2022.
The team used Key 18 to generate various HC dashboards.
In August 2022, the VKB Human Capital department achieved Excellence status
4 th Speaker: Climent Monyela CI & Quality Manager, Adient
Topic of Discussion: Developing World Class People for a World Class Company
Climent started with the vision and mission of Adient SA.
They have 5 guiding principles:
Climent discussed the success stories that have transpired from the ODI-Adient partnership since 2014:
- Internal Promotions to leadership positions
- Development and expansion of the leadership skills-set
- Upskilling all operators by equipping them with CI principles with the NQF 3 Supervision qualification
- The national qualifications from ODI “dovetailing” productivity as a focus
HPT (High Performance Teams) focusing on KPIs
Climent shared the Continuous Improvement and Quality strategy for 2024 which is depicted below:
5th Speaker: Landi van Der Merwe Continuous Improvement Manager, VKB Group
Topic of Discussion: Keeping momentum when the gears change – the Road after the 20 Keys Excellence Award
Landi delivered a most inspiring presentation with depth and substance, showcasing their entrenched culture of continuous improvement.
Landi kicked off with a few facts about GFC (Grain Field Chickens) Abattoir
- Slaughter ± 1,050,000 birds per week
- 23 Boiler Sites
- 174 Chicken Houses (Broilers only) (Ave 41 500 birds p/house)
- 24 hours / 5 days a week operation
- Plant employees ± 1650 people
The GFC team commenced with their first 20 Keys benchmark in 2016.
Landi shared photos and graphs on each of the requirements of the Excellence award and the results that they obtained.
Landi mentioned that Paper is the Enemy of Key 1. FSSC Findings have reduced by 73% since 2016. The number of production plan changes have reduced by 43% since 2016. The overall Productivity measure of Kg per Man/hour improved by 64% since 2016. Morale improvement of 23% measured through a questionnaire completed by employees. Engineering Stock Turn % showed a 39% improvement. Stock value in the Packaging Stores showed a 23% improvement. The measurement on Sweepings showed a 35% improvement. Packaging waste was reduced by 57%.
Landi shared their lessons learnt along the way:
- Data is imperative, “What you do not measure you do not know”
- Each Key has a dedicated Key Leader
- Key scores are part of the employees’ KPI and performance appraisal
- Monthly feedback from each Key Leader to support where progress is slow
- Constant training for floor personnel
- Follow the CAPDo cycle
Landi entered the next phase of her presentation which was about maintaining momentum after achieving the Excellence Award.
- Always keep the MD and Senior Management involved
- All Keys part of Employee Engagement (1, 2, 3 ,10) must be part of ALL Management KPIs
- Each department to have dedicated 3 colour chart
- Key Leader meetings and scoring system
- Internal assessment of the Radar Chart every 3 months
- Internal Annual Continuous Improvement Function
- Automate the repetitive processes and standardize feedback
Landi mentioned how much they appreciate the knowledge and the depth they receive from the ODI team.
Landi shared a few practical examples of improvement initiatives and explained how GFC has automated/digitalised their 20 Keys measurements.
Landi ended the presentation by leaving us with two very important statements:
- Continuous Improvement is not a silver bullet that will magically remove all problems. Instead, CI will highlight where the problems are and as a Team need to be solved.
- Continuous Improvement is not a race, it is a gradual process. That needs constant support and guidance.
6th Speaker: Brett Momberg Divisional Manager, BBF Safety Group
Topic of Discussion: BBF: Our Operations Excellence Journey
Brett made quite an entrance by walking to the podium barefoot and showing everyone that they are in the “shoe” business.
Brett started his presentation with an encouraging quote about the continuous improvement:
The more efficient you are at doing the wrong thing, the wronger you become. It is much better to do the right thing wronger, than the wrong thing righter. If you do the right thing wrong, and correct it, you get better. – Russel Ackoff
BBF uses the OPEX Modules which are based on the 20 Keys system.
National Certificate: Productivity (NQF Level 5)
Brett shared before and after photos of their operations excellence journey and ended off with lessons learnt along the way.
A few key messages being:
- LEARNING TO LEAD, LEADING TO LEARN.
- REPETITION ENFORCES A WAY OF LIFE.
7th Speakers: Tanuja Naidoo, Senior Africa Supply Chain Manager & Gift Masabane, Warehouse Manager Digistics Logistics
Topic of Discussion: LeaderSHIFT: Attitude over Altitude
Tanuja started the presentation by contextualizing the importance of ATTITUDE in an ever-evolving environment.
She spoke about the shift in Digistics to focus on People Development and having the attitude of seeing change, not as a threat, but as an opportunity to grow our people and organisation to achieve greater success.
Once employees witness the success of collaborating rather than competing, line managers will start igniting their teams – Focusing on the company goals and objectives to bring about the desired change.
The attitude of valuing every player in our logistics supply chain has transformed isolated efforts into a symphony of seamless operations.
Digistics core focus is people development and the partnership with ODI has assisted us in gaining more insight into growing people from within. ODI has impacted us in many ways by sparking a generation of “thinking people” in our organisation.
Gift Masabane, a Warehouse Manager, who started at Digistics as a Picker, presented with great pride about the impact of leaders on people development as well as QCDSM results.
Gift started by mentioning a few key elements of leadership which he linked with the presentation title LeaderSHIFT.
He explained that leadership comes in many forms and that mastering the skill of listening will not put a lid on the growth of an individual. He added that a leader that listens, learns and continues to grow.
Gift offered an inspiring definition of attitude driven – servant leadership:
With the right attitude a leader will be able to paint a persuasive vision of the company’s future that excites workers and encourages them to be an important part of it. This includes allowing employees to offer constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement.
Gift shared the impact of leadership on QCDSM results.
- Seek first to create a relationship with your team members.
- As a team leader, you share responsibility for the success of your team.
- Showing respect improves productivity, boosts employee morale, and creates an environment where everyone feels comfortable with their roles and responsibilities.
- Listening actively when your coworkers speak or share ideas
- Always remember the CAPDo cycle
- Create a culture where team members take ownership of their actions and feel comfortable admitting when things go wrong.
The presentation was based on the ODI learnership journey at Digistics and specifically the following qualifications:
NC: Management ID83946 NQF3
FETC: Generic Management ID57712 NQF4 NC: Generic Management ID59201 NQF5
8TH SPEAKER: Nikki Moodley Operations Improvement Executive, Astral Operations Ltd
Topic of Discussion: The Astral Way…. Excellence is not an Act, but a Habit
Nikki presented on The Astral Way with a calm confidence, the presentation was a true North to all businesses in attendance.
Nikki provided context with a brief overview of the business and the Astral Excellence journey since 1998.
Nikki described The Astral Operations Excellence journey to target two aspects namely Strategic Fit and Structured Approach.
Nikki shared the image below which depicts their effective implementation of Key 2.
Nikki shared that the current focus of Astral is building a culture of connectivity and engagement which ultimately results in an energised workplace.
The Astral team looked at Patrick Lencioni’s “5 Dysfunctions of a Team”, integrated with Keys 2,3 and 10 and commenced with a workshop called Reset, Refocus and Restart (RRR).
Nikki highlighted the diverse nature of the 20 Keys system and shared how the principles can be applied to all day-to-day aspects of the business as well as managing risks and navigating the uncertainty resulting from business cycles. Astral has developed a 20 Keys architecture that provides the necessary structure for them to maintain Excellence status including utilising the competencies of ODI by adding value to the business with cost reduction or efficiency improvement projects.
Nikki shared a few success stories of 20 Keys implementations in the Support Functios – Logistics, Sales, IT and HR.
Astral hosted an internal 20 Keys conference with the title: “Strategy is a commodity; implementation is an Art”.
Nikki concluded the presentation with an expression of gratitude towards the ODI team and Johan Benadie especially, for the invaluable support on the never-ending Excellence journey.
9th Speaker: Dawrian Salies General Manager, CTP – SA Litho
Topic of Discussion: Effective Communication Structures: A Prerequisite for Sustainable Operations Excellence
Dawrian provided a brief overview of the CTP Footprint and where SA Litho fits in the picture. Dawrian started with a definition of Effective Communication:
Effective communication is the process of conveying information, thoughts, ideas, or feelings from one person or group to another in a way that is:
- And achieves the intended purpose.
- It involves both the sender and receiver of the message working together to ensure that the message is accurately understood.
Dawrian reminded the audience once again of the vital link between Operations Excellence and People in their pursuit of being the label printer of choice. They achieve this by creating an environment where people are
- willing and
- accountable for driving continuous improvement.
SA Litho follows a high impact approach that leverages the foundation elements of Continuous Improvement to generate and sustain performance momentum. These elements are the building blocks of establishing a sustainable continuous improvement culture:
- Visual Goal alignment
- Efficient Workplace organisation
- Small-Group Activities (Problem solving)
Dawrian described the three levels of management in operations, their functions and how the meeting structures work at SA Litho – this is how they achieve effective communication by quickly escalating issues and cascading feedback between levels. Dawrian described managers as capability builders who are responsible for teaching the team how to improve and solve problems
Dawrian shared a few pictures of the meeting structures
Dawrian concluded the presentation by reminding everyone about the importance of measurements, especially in effective communication, it removes the emotion from the conversation. He left the audience with the famous quote from Deming – “Without data you’re just another person with an opinion”.
10th Speaker: Lapologang Laps Letshwenyo, Business Improvement Coordinator, Morupule Coal Mine, Botswana
Topic of Discussion: The MCM Business (20 keys) in Support of Achieving Consistent Nameplate Capacity in Underground Coal Mining
Laps tarted the presentation by echoing many speakers about the importance of starting with the WHY? He explained that for MCM, the WHY is employee ownership.
Laps provided a brief company overview and sharing the MCM history for the past 50 years. ODI has developed a customised system for MCM which is the 20 Keys system condensed into 12 Pillars called the MCM Business System
MCM also uses their Business System to support their international certification – ISO14001, ISO55001, ISO45001 and ISO17025 Laboratory
Laps shared their radar chart results since 2012 and explained that there was a drop in Goal alignment due to the uncertainty created by a restructuring initiative. The morale is improving with management visibility and engagement.
Laps explained how Operations Excellence and the implementation of 20 Keys is integrated with the corporate strategy as part of MCM’s imperatives:
- Organisational capability: create capacity and capability to drive key outcomes and growth opportunities and provide focus on key enabling functions required for growth.
- Operational excellence and productivity: drive operational excellence of the operations ensuring that name plate capacity is achieved, and cost is limited.
- Digitalisation and integration: create an integrate operation through leveraging technology and enabling decision making.
Laps spoke about the shift in thinking with regards to data and digitalisation where they are moving to obtaining the data from source (the machines) rather than having data capturers. This shifts the focus to utilising brain power for problem solving instead of data capturing.
The MCM team used the technique of value stream mapping to identify opportunities for improvement across the site.
They have achieved improvement in various metrics such as underground air utilization, STRATA control, electricity consumption and belt extension delays.
Laps also shared headline financial indicators showing 36% increase in Revenue and 67.1% increase in Gross Profit.
After looking at the hard measures, Laps pointed us to the People aspects of Safety, Recognition and Motivation.
The incident and NearHit trends are on the decline since 2017, he shared a few pictures of rewards, recognition, and communication.
This is how they take care of their most valuable assets:
- Rewarding the best performing individuals and teams.
- Planned task observations / Coaching.
- Management visibility – walk about.
- Stand downs – let’s stop work and talk.
- Improve talent development.
- Improve internal technical capacity.
- Team and individual performance management.
11th Speaker: Nicky Titus Admin/Operations Manager, Sheerline Cape Town
Topic of Discussion: 20 Keys in Support of Quick & Efficient Stock Turnover
Nicky ended the day of knowledge sharing by industry experts, with a practical implementation story, reminding everyone about the importance of getting the basics right.
She started with a brief company overview and proceeded to the “WHY” of implementing the 20 Keys system.
Nicky explained that the key successes for Sheerline was setting up Mini-Business Areas, focussing on skills versatility and focusing on small group activities.
Nicky shared before and after pictures of Cleaning and Organising.
There were so many suggestions from the floor with regards to improvement initiatives.
Sheerline achieved peer-to-peer accountability by moving the action plan to the floor
Nicky shared how Sheerline offered Life Skills training to staff leading to increased employee engagement. During this training, the topic of budgets were covered since making financially poor decisions, affected the staff at work.
Nicky emphasised the importance and the power of employee recognition. Sheerline has also started a book club since they believe that an informed leader is a powerful leader.
At the end of Nicky’s presentation, Huibie Jones (MD at ODI) pointed out that after listening to so many inspiring presentations it was only appropriate that recognition should be given to some people who have played outstanding roles in their companies to help these stories become a reality.
Huibie announced the Top Achievers during the Special Awards Ceremony. To view the Special Awards Ceremony, click here.
Our Chairman, Gerald McKinnon, thanked our speakers and everybody who attended the conference. He also reminded people of the cocktail party after the event.
Pieter Bosman : Operations Manager
“What a journey this is. The saying you are never too old to learn is so true. My eyes opened with this Operations Excellence Conference. I enjoyed the following speaker who made an impact on me as a person: Martin Preece from Gold Fields Limited spoke about Unleashing the Potential of People and the key to unblocking a Culture of Continues Improvement. I would also like to congratulate the ODI team for a Job well done.”
Gift Semeti Masabane : Warehouse Manager at Digistics Waterfall (Pty) Ltd
“I had a very wonderful day… Learned a lot from the speakers and I can’t wait to attend the next ODI conference. ODI played a very important role in my career and personal development. Many thanks to Johan, Maryke, Mbali and ODI team for transforming our lives and careers in Digistics. A very memorable and insightful ODI conference. Great minds from learned and influential leaders. Thank you very much to ODI for giving me an opportunity to be a part of this life changing experience.”
Annatjie Prinsloo: Human Resources Manager at ADIENT SA
“Thank you ODI, it was a great experience.”
“Thank you for the invite, it was very nice to meet you today and I must say I enjoyed myself. It was really a great experience being in that conference and meeting all those great leaders.”
“I had the privilege of attending the ODI conference. The theme was ‘Operations Excellence: A Never-Ending Journey.’ It was fantastic to learn from incredible managers and personnel of all levels in various organisations. In addition, we had the immense privilege to meet Dr. Yoshiyuki Kobayashi, the son of the infamous Iwao Kobayashi who founded ’20 Keys: A Practical Program of Revolution in Factories.’ Thank you ODI for the enlightening opportunity.”
Done Joubert: Industrial engineering student at the University of Pretoria
“Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the ODI conference. It was such a pleasure to learn more about operational excellence, continuous improvement, 20 Keys, and its impact in various fields – we even had the privilege to meet Dr Yoshi Kobayashi, son of the 20 Keys founder! I also enjoyed fascinating conversations with some of the other companies’ representatives, including Landi van der Merwe from the VKB Group and Jessica Vosloo from Wispeco Aluminium. I’m looking forward to the next fantastic learning opportunity!”
“What a wonderful event to attend. It was my first. The event itself was so well organised. Cannot fault a single thing. The speakers’ content highlighted that we all share common goals and challenges. ODI and the 20 Keys programme and the NQF learnerships in partnership with their clients have had great positive effects on the organisations staff. Thank you ODI, Johan & Huibie for your dedication & commitment to get the continuous improvement wheel turning at Sheerline Aluminium Systems.”
Landi van der Merwe:
“What a great honor and privilege to have been part of and present at the ODI Conference 2023 held at the Premier Hotel OR Tambo. Having Dr Yoshi in the audience as a special guest made it even more special. The VKB Group was well presented (Agri Processors, GWK, Grain Field Chickens, VKB Milling, Human Capital, and Internal Audit) and focused on changing gears, the journey back to excellence, and a very strong focus on PEOPLE. I also want to thank ODI for my award for Contribution towards Operational Excellence.”
“We had a great time at the ODI Conference yesterday! It was good to meet up with our Joburg colleagues too! We are so proud of all the Caxton and CTP award winners! Special shout out to Mikhial Carolissen for winning the Top Achiever Award for the Production Technology NQF 3 Learnership, and to Clinton Cyster for winning the ‘Best Workplace Mentor and Support’ award. Congratulations!!!”
Francois Sieberhagen, Human Capital Executive: VKB Group
“Ek wil graag van die geleentheid gebruik maak om vir die ODI span, hartlik geluk te wens met ‘n baie suksesvolle konferensie. Baie dankie vir die voorreg dat ek genooi was as ‘n spreker, ek het dit regtig geniet. Dit is altyd vir my ‘n groot voorreg om te gesels oor menslike kapitaal en ook om mede-“people professionals” by te staan met idees oor hoe hulle hul werksplekke kan verbeter. Mense is my passie, en om te strewe na die skep van merkwaardige werksplekke waar werknemers hulle volle potensiaal bereik deur die uitleef van hul talente. Ek sien uit na ‘n volgende geleentheid om saam met ODI te werk.”