ABS Hoppenbrouwers Autoherstel - Multidisciplinary teams

2013 – Hoppenbrouwers Autoherstel (Car Recover) is a medium sized firm  with sites in Bergen op Zoom and Roosendaal. The Netherlands. It employs a total of 32 employees. The company is managed by a director and a site manager for each site. Employees work in small teams led by a team leader or foreman.

Other design and improvement of work processes and job satisfaction
Eighteen months ago, the company started a process aimed at reducing the lead time and increasing job satisfaction.
From a functional organizational structure with separate sections for sheet metal, preprocessing and spraying operation the company switched to working in small teams that are independently responsible for the total process of car restoration.
Encouraging employees to take responsibility, promoting empowerment, engagement and cooperation are central.

A change process was started from a functional organization to working in teams. The goal was to redesign the operation; an improvement in the leadership and the culture of the organization would be key indicators of success.

In consultation with the employees were appointed as focal points in this transformation process: vision and strategy, leadership, organization and development, process optimization and culture. There were composed change teams consisting of a mix of management and staff for both the cultural side and the structural side of the change. Based on films of the operation, employees analyzed the current and desired situation regarding: good behavior, fellowship, arriving on time, cleaning stuff, etc. Disturbances in the operation were listed  and formed the basis for redesign and optimization of work processes. Team leaders were trained in new leadership and employees were enabled  to perform multiple tasks and be flexible employable, using education and training. Per team a  morning concert was introduced to share the planning of the day.  Then employees can also discuss irritations in cooperation. At the same time, the process of actual conversion of the workshop was started.

At  Hoppenbrouwers they ‘re working in multidisciplinary teams now. The cooperation has been improved and the processes are coordinated better. A first step is made to improve the turnaround time of the repair process. There is more variety in the work and because of this job satisfaction is increased. Employees feel more involved in the business and are willing to work harder. For rush orders the company needs less rely on external forces.

The involvement of employees at all change processes is necessary. To keep employees involved communication on progress is essential. Results, lessons learned and next steps should be appointed. The board should propagate the new way of working and secure what is already triggered. Managers must be enabled to practice new way of leadership. Redesigning the workplace was  necessary for the restructuring of the operation.

More information
See websites: www.absautoherstel.nl and www.abswijnen.nl and www.socialeinnovatiebrabant.nl

Themes: Dynamic management & Leadership, Flexible organising, Smart working.

Sector: High Tech, smart materials

Source: Case