Increased productivity makes the company stronger
Productivity and continuous improvement permeate Södra’s operations. The work on small improvements is an established part of the organisation and integrated into daily work. By everyone being able to contribute to improvements, the productivity work develops both the company and the employees.
Södra’s productivity work is based on a high degree of staff participation and on the work being conducted systematically and based on facts. The starting point is to motivate the employees to continuously think about how something can be done better. Commitment and interest in the productivity work grow and, for many, participation in the productivity programme is educational and enriching.
Six steps to the solution
To ensure that the productivity work is performed systematically, Södra uses a six-step model. In the first step, areas for improvement efforts are chosen. It is important to have a broad approach and choose an area where the efforts will provide the greatest benefit. In the second step, the chosen area is surveyed and the basic problem and its root causes are identified. The third step involves creativity where several employees gather to jointly present various ideas on the solution to the specific problem. In the fourth step, the proposals are evaluated and prioritised, resulting in a list of activities and a distribution of responsibility. The fifth step involves implementing the prioritised proposals, and in the sixth, follow-up is performed to determine whether the set goals were achieved. The results are also distributed to other involved parts of the organisation.
The improvement proposals in step three are gathered in an idea database that also includes the estimated savings. The idea database is open to everyone in the company to provide inspiration through good ideas.
A department for productivity
The central productivity department develops and applies the system through their nine change leaders, navigators, who have the task of leading the productivity programmes or securing the system.
The department also trains employees in the organisation so that they can conduct improvement work according to Södra’s methodology. Special productivity ambassadors, engines, also work as change leaders locally, but close to the central productivity department.
The business areas’ improvement proposals have primarily concerned their own operation. However, improvement work has recently begun in the interfaces between the business areas. The work is often led by the productivity department’s navigators, who have an independent role.
Södra’s objective is to increase productivity by 2 per cent annually. Improvement is measured when income and expenses have been cleared of price changes, which means that measurements are not affected by changing prices for wood, timber products or pulp, but reflect factors that the organisation is able to affect.
During the year, Södra’s productivity increased by 3.4 per cent and a total of 3,867 ideas were implemented. The annual profit improvement from the ideas followed up during the year slightly exceeded SEK 134 million.