Vanderlande Industries - Project organization and self-scheduling

2013 – Vanderlande Industries in Veghel, the Netherlands  specializes in the design and implementation of integrated logistics solutions such as warehouse automation systems, baggage handling systems and sorting of mail and parcels. The company has sites in more than 10 countries. The Dutch office in Veghel has 1050 employees. The company has its own production department, R & D and service and support . The company’s operations are divided into two business units, namely Baggage Handling Systems & Distribution, Parcel & Postal, supported by a number of corporate supply centers.

Project organization and self-scheduling
The  R&D  and service and support departments are informally organized in temporary projects with varying composition. This depends on the demand of the customer. For example, projects are organized around developing solutions and software to control  sorting systems remotely. In the production department they  work on the basis of self-scheduling . Employees are responsible  for their own planning of production and for the quality.  Both of production workers and R & D staff broad functionality is expected. The company  started  self-scheduling  because it needed more flexibility in order to better  respond to customer demands.  Moreover they find  it important to put more trust and responsibility  on employees because they are closest to the production and in fact can guarantee for the quality of the products. In the system of self-scheduling employees are challenged to change their employability.

There is started an improvement process by the group leaders in collaboration with HRM. Employees in groups elaborated  improvement proposals, inter alia in connection with the planning. They reported to the manager of the factory. There is a continuous workplace  innovation: people can present proposals to improve the work process  and to redesign production . Simultaneously there was invested in  talent development. There is a management talent program which encourages activities and  offers challenging jobs. The company has its own  Vanderlande  Academy and offers training courses on technical and soft skills development. Continuous  investment  in skills is promoted. Management participates in seminars where is paid  attention to creative and lateral thinking.

The quality of the products is increasing. Employees get more in touch with the company and are ready for  innovation. The communication is improved.

To adjust  work, there need  to exist  a  driver:  the customer should need it. The change must relate to something  very concrete, for example a new design of  the workplace. Then, one can see what  that means for the next step. Management must create a good climate for change, must be curious and tolerant and  show confidence. Employees must be enthusiastic and  executives  have  to be stimulating.

More information
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