No fewer than 175 employees of APM Terminals Apapa, have graduated as Lean Practitioners since the beginning of the Lean Academy in 2019.
Mr Martin Kjeldsen, Way of Working (WoW) Project Manager, made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos, on Sunday.
Lean thinking is a transformational framework that provides a new way to organising human activities, to deliver more benefits to society and value to individuals, while eliminating waste.
Derived from Toyota’s 1930 operating model “The Toyota Way”, the philosophy is based on a Lean manufacturing method aimed primarily at reducing times within the production system, as well as response times from suppliers to customers.
Kjeldsen said that Apapa’s Lean practitioners were expected to take the lead in introducing innovative solutions to terminal operations with the goal of improving efficiency and customer service.
He added that APM Terminals Apapa was transformed by re-tooling and re-educating employees to eliminate waste, boost productivity and promote innovation every day.
“Our employees play a central role in our transformation. They are the ones who will make Apapa a great place to work through involvement and engagement within our Way of Working.
“This is through high level Lean education, a Lean mindset and Kaizens (Japanese term meaning continuous improvement), for immediate, real results and long-term sustainable impact,” he said.
He noted that in past years, the terminal worked extensively on identification of talent at Apapa, to support the future Lean journey and building relations within the Apapa team to ensure cross functional collaboration.
Kjeldsen added that practicing Lean required a changed mindset, from running the business to improving the business, helping us prevent fire-fighting in our day-to-day job.
“It’s not easy, but it is manageable if we set our minds to it. If we invest heavily in WoW and celebrate our successes.
“A major milestone in the terminal’s Lean journey was the introduction of practical WoW Coaches, a dedicated stand-alone role with the objective of strengthening APM Terminals Apapa’s Lean capabilities and knowledge of WoW tools.
“The introduction of practical WoW Coaches has been a dream for me since I joined APM Terminals in 2018. If you can dream it, you can do it,” Kjeldsen said.
Also, Mr Jan Jensen, Way of Working (WoW) Project Manager, while reflecting on Apapa’s progress, said that the end of 2021 showed that they were on the right Lean path.
“Once we learn how to plan, how to use Lean and execute Lean Kaizen we will experience that the Lean methodology will improve our business and our work-life balance.
“We are beginning to see the result around the terminal where employees start and execute their own team Kaizens to improve their processes and the way they perform their daily work,” he said.
A practical WoW Coach, Victor Enegide, describes Lean as a systematic way of eliminating waste, while focusing on individual development.
“To us, as employees, it gives us a better understanding of what we do on a day-to-day basis. It also makes us understand that we shouldn’t let good get in the way of better.
“Its benefit to operation is the elimination of waste, improvement of truck turnaround time and better customer satisfaction. It also reduces bottlenecks to enable the process flow easily,” he said.
Operations Training Superintendent, Chigozie Mbanefo, said that consistency, not intensity, was a key factor in Lean.
“When thinking about improvements, you don’t have to start with big steps. Little steps, when taken consistently, can amount to so much over time. It doesn’t have to be big to make a difference,” he said.