On Friday 26 June 2020, Grain Field Chickens (GFC – a chicken processing plant in Reitz and a member of the VKB Group) was awarded the 20 Keys International Excellence Award, by PDI (Japan), and ODI (South Africa).
GFC started their 20 Keys journey in March 2016, when Theo van Strijp, currently MD, asked me to present the 20 Keys system to him and the rest of the management team.
Theo is no newcomer to the 20 Keys, also having achieved the Award in 2006, while he was a manager and 20 Keys Facilitator at the Earlybird Processing Plant in Standerton.
I did the final Award review on Thursday and Friday, following a gap analysis and pre-review earlier this year. Detailed and thorough reviews were done, and the final review satisfied all the requirements for the award; both in terms of the required maturity levels for the 20 Keys, as well as improvements required, in terms of:
- safety, and
Over the period of implementation, GFC went through rapid expansion and equipment upgrades. Throughout this time, Theo stuck to the implementations, and actively supported it – a best practice example of the role of senior management. I consulted monthly with a 2-day visit each time.
An important success requirement is that adequate resources and support need to be provided for the implementation. This is even more important in a high-speed industry like chicken processing, as there is very little time available to have first-line team members in training and discussion sessions. The process is finely balanced, and when someone is not at a workstation, the production flow is affected.
Landi van der Merwe started off as the 20 Keys Facilitator for the first few years, and was joined in 2019 by Rene Janse van Rensburg; both of them are Industrial Engineers. They did an excellent job of supporting the production and supporting functions with:
- effective use of tools and techniques, and
- implementation advice.
I am impressed by their eagerness to learn, and their patience to help first-line teams to understand and implement the concepts. The role of Key Leaders is also important; Theo took the responsibility as Key Leader for Key 2 (Goal Alignment) and Key 20 (Technology), while the other Keys were allocated to people involved with the particular functions.
Without exception, a great job was done by the Key Leaders, supporting the implementation based on action plans which were regularly reviewed and updated in line with the requirements of the different levels for the Keys. The system was implemented in all production and supporting functions at the Processing Plant, as well as at GFC Head Office.
Special mention must be made of people in first-line teams. The success of the implementation, results and sustainability are very much determined at this level, where people directly interact with machines, other teams and information. Without their active participation and willingness to learn, an implementation will not be sustainable.
Well done to Theo and the GFC team, from all of us at ODI!
“Dear Theo, I am Yoshi Kobayashi of PDI Japan. I remember meeting you in 2006 in Japan and again in 2008 in South Africa. Thank you very much for all your hard work with 20 Keys. I hope that you will sustain the level and also improve further. Please extend my thanks to the two 20 Keys facilitators – Landi (I met Landi at the last Japan tour) and Rene. Best regards.”
Yoshi Kobayashi : PDI
Theo van Strijp: MD, replied:
“Good day Dr Kobayashi, Thank you so much for the kind words. I remember you very well and have such respect for you and your knowledge on 20 Keys and continuous improvement. Indeed – the 2nd Excellence Award for me; with the first one, I did all the hard work as 20 Keys facilitator but this time I was lucky to have people that is committed to do the hard work, and I just gave guidance. I’m looking forward to the day that we meet again, and definitely another picture!”
Theo to Johan Benadie:
“Johan, you made such a big impact on my career when we met many years ago and I have learned so much from you over the years.”
Author: Johan Benadie – Director at ODI
To read more about ODI’s Continuous Operations Improvement System, click here.