If continuous innovation is the essence of your mission, then being able to respond to changes is essential. You think about tomorrow every day. How can Bolidt help improve the lives of its customers and the environment with its business operations and synthetic applications? Acting proactively on newly arising demands, requirements and possibilities is part of Bolidt's DNA. Of course, no one saw the coronavirus crisis coming. How do you keep your innovation power high if you are a globally operating organization and the world is in lockdown?
At Bolidt, they are also experiencing the consequences of this global corona crisis, says Rientz Willem Bol, director-owner of Bolidt. Unfortunately, some projects have come to a complete standstill due to travel restrictions. Other projects in the Netherlands, such as renovations to education establishments and parking garages, have been brought forward. “The people who normally travel around the world are therefore being deployed on projects in the Netherlands or work on various improvement projects. We use this time to do everything we can to guarantee quality for the customer and accelerate innovations.”
“If you want to be able to innovate continuously and be able to respond quickly to changing circumstances, you have to ensure that decisions can be made quickly,” emphasizes Rientz Willem. “Nobody can lead the way if important decisions are delayed because someone's mailbox or agenda is too full to devote time and attention to it. All around the world, developments are succeeding each other at a growing pace and customers are making increasingly rigorous demands. We always thought ahead, but we noticed a few years ago that this alone was no longer enough. I realized that we really had to organize our entire organization around innovation. When it comes to innovation, it’s not only the R&D department that should be involved, but everyone; from applicator to director.”
More than four years ago, Bolidt, together with LearningWaves (then known as Arpa Training & Consultancy) took the first steps towards becoming a Lean & Learn organization. Shortly before the coronavirus crisis began, collaboration on the basis of Daily Stand-up meetings was introduced throughout the organization – internationally and at all levels. A Daily Stand-up ensures that, on a daily basis, every team within Bolidt goes through the work in progress, monitors planning and is able to identify and resolve possible disruptions and escalations in a timely manner.
In addition, Bolidt has established the Daily Stand-up meetings according to an escalation model. Operational teams and managers hold their Daily Stand-ups consecutively on the same day. That way, they can escalate any disruptions that require higher-level decisions within hours.
According to Rientz Willem that really was a milestone. However, Bolidt could not have predicted that they would reach it at such a crucial time.
“The impact of the coronavirus naturally caused quite a few disruptions in our processes. Thanks to the Daily Stand-ups and the escalation model, even in these challenging times we are quickly able to come up with solutions for changed circumstances. This counts whether the changes stem from production, from the customer or from external factors such as trade restrictions resulting from the coronavirus. This allows us to limit the impact of the virus on our processes or the result for the customer. This way we guarantee both efficiency and quality.”
“This is more than worth the time and energy that has been put into it. It took a number of years to organize this in all locations and all departments. Learning the Lean & Learn methodologies takes time. It is a learning process that every employee has to go through individually. From unconsciously incompetent to consciously incompetent with feelings of resistance. (Why do we have to do it this way? Is it really necessary? What was wrong with the way we did things before?) Step-by-step we have included departments in this learning process. This allowed departments to see together what the results are. Ultimately, I can now say that our entire organization is consciously competent in the Daily Stand-up and also understands its importance,” says Rientz Willem.
Bolidt specializes in the development, production and application of thermosetting synthetics and is active all over the world. Every day throughout the year thousands of square meters of synthetic floors, decks or bridges are installed in various countries. The planning of all Daily Stand-ups takes into account the different time zones of the countries in which Bolidt’s teams work. This means that the Daily Stand-ups held with teams in other countries take place in the afternoon. In this way, Logistics and Warehousing in Miami can link up with Operations in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, so that Bolidt can perform escalations at any level that same day.
Rientz Willem explains how this works in practice: “Every team holds a Daily Stand-up every day. In addition, the managers of our different departments have one every afternoon. Three times a week production, execution and sales are present at the meetings. Twice a week all departments are represented. This way we can respond extremely quickly. We have already achieved great success with this. I am proud to say that we have been invited to work for the University of Oxford. We will supply hygienic floor systems for the new laboratories of their prestigious biochemical faculty. The university is researching, among other things, a vaccine against Covid-19.”
“Because Oxford wanted to expand its research capacity as quickly as possible, we had to act extremely quickly,” explains Maurice Steijn, Director Export Division of Bolidt. “There were only 4 days between the final order confirmation and the start of the job. Normally that period is 4 to 6 weeks in duration. We have made every effort to achieve this goal for Oxford. In the preliminary phase we had to sort out a lot of things in the fields of safety and quality. Could we get our people and equipment into the UK? Did employees have to be quarantined first? Which coronavirus measures applied at the construction site? In these times, we need to anticipate all possible scenarios more than usual.”
According to Maurice, you can only respond as quickly as you have responded to each other as a company, and can immediately consult and prepare a job in detail. “Because we have the entire value stream in our own hands, all parts are very closely linked to us and our employees can react extremely quickly. Getting, preparing and executing the assignment for Oxford is a real team effort.”
With a Daily Stand-up you coordinate the planning and activities and you signal ‘Kaizens’ – or things that could be improved. Kaizen is a Japanese term, literally meaning ‘continuous improvement’. “This is a good example of how we work together; the entire organization is constantly improving to deliver a better product to our customer, to organize the process more efficiently and to ensure that everyone's motivation and mood is right.” Rietnz Willem makes a quick calculation: “If you do that every day, seven days a week with all 460 people, that will quickly yield around 168,000 innovations in a year. That is the power of continuous improvement.”
Erik Giebels, consultant and trainer at LearningWaves: “The way Bolidt works with a Daily Stand-up in combination with an escalation model is unique in SMEs. Actually, usually only multinationals work this way. It takes a lot of organization, broad support and discipline. Thanks to their will and culture, Bolidt has succeeded in transforming their organization from a traditionally driven company into this autonomous organization within three years. That is truly an exceptional achievement for an international organization that employs over 450 people every day.”Contact me
P.O. Box 131
3340 AC Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht
Bolidt Innovation Center
3341 LW The Netherlands
TEL +31 (0)78 684 54 44