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PKP CARGO implements Lean Management in its rolling stock repair workshops

After completing the pilot project aimed at testing Lean Management – a manufacturing management method known, among others, from Toyota – PKP CARGO decided to implement this solution in all rolling stock repair workshops in the Group. Lean Management speeds up the manufacturing process and enhances the standard of work. Thanks to this solution, the comfort of work will be higher, and PKP CARGO will save several million zlotys per month by reducing the number of outsourced repairs.

The pilot project consisting in increasing the efficiency of maintenance of the rolling stock, implemented in the first half of 2014 in workshops belonging to PKP CARGO Group, yielded positive results. Based on this, a decision was taken to implement this solution in all rolling stock repair workshops owned by the company. This task was entrusted with a special new organizational unit established within PKP CARGO’s organizational structure. Between June and September, this team carried out 22 project workshops in 20 workshops belonging to PKP CARGO and PKP CARGOTABOR – a company from the Group responsible for the maintenance of the rolling stock. To date over one thousand hours were dedicated to employees working on the maintenance of the rolling fleet in PKP CARGO Group.

Between July and October 2014, the efficiency of ongoing repairs of wagons in PKP CARGO Group grew by over 10% and the efficiency of periodic repairs of wagons by more than 5% compared with June 2014. Nearly PLN 15 million could be saved on outsourced repairs.

“During the workshops, members of the Lean Management implementation team met many engaged employees. It is clear that they care about this initiative. I’m very happy about it, because new solutions have real effects on people and their daily work. We can already see positive results – the organization of work is improving and the number of repaired wagons is increasing. It allows us to pursue the objective – converting PKP CARGO’s rolling stock repair workshops into modern companies that set the quality standards and successfully compete on the market,” says Wojciech Derda, Management Board Member in charge of Operations at PKP CARGO.

Methodology – finding bottlenecks and losses related to the repair process

During the workshops, the Lean Management implementation team trains a portion of the staff and the local management. Then the main problems related to the efficiency of repairs are diagnosed. The whole process – from the moment the rolling stock is removed from service until it is put into service again – is thoroughly analysed. The analysis consists in looking for bottlenecks. These are stages at which the repair slows down unnecessarily due to, for example, an insufficient number of employees responsible for a given activity or the lack of division into preparatory works and the main activities. The first ones can be performed by a less experienced assistant, while for the remaining ones a specialist is required. Other bottlenecks appear, for example, in consequence of an inadequate distribution of working positions, machines and equipment, or a high rate of failures of machines and equipment. All acts of waste, e.g. carrying out unnecessary activities and transportation due to inadequate distribution of working positions, making corrections or waiting for material supplies and redundant stock, are also eliminated.

The implementation of the project is based on taking up new initiatives – employees are obliged to perform certain actions contributing to the efficiency of the whole process. To date a list of more than 800 such initiatives has been created, and 75% of them have already been implemented. Active participation of staff is key to the success of the whole project, and this is why special attention is paid to it. After completing the project workshops, the Lean Management implementation team keeps on coordinating the change management process. The implementation of tasks as well as the effects of introduced changes are monitored on an ongoing basis.

PKP CARGO owns in total 1.2 thousand active locomotives and over 60 thousand wagons. A large portion of repairs are carried out by companies belonging to PKP CARGO, including PKP CARGOTABOR – one of the largest rolling stock companies in Europe. This company employs over three thousand people and specializes in the repair of wagons, locomotives and wheelsets as well as in general servicing of the rolling stock.

In 2013, PKP CARGO spent almost PLN 450 million on the maintenance of its rolling stock. The servicing of the rolling stock included periodic repairs as well as other repairs and inspections of locomotives and wagons. As the scope of PKP CARGO’s activity is very broad, even a small improvement in efficiency translates into tangible savings for the company.

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