Best Practice in Action at Holden's Elizabeth Plant
By Robert Lloyd, AME SA Committee Member
This well attended tour was very impressive for all those who took part. It began with an outline of how the overall GM management systems had been integrated to 1 international management system, to simplify the deployment of strategy and operations.
It was an impressive tour of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that has made a huge transformation in culture and lean practices over the past five years. Is a real credit to everybody involved, that the plant has won most improved in the world over the past four years
and has recently achieved best in the world status with regard to quality. The plant has been living by the vision statement that “the last car is the best car”, and this has been driving ongoing continuous improvement to the point that their right first time percentage at the end of the line, is in the high 90s. This means that there are minimal quality problems for rectification before shipping to customers. This has had an impact on reducing warranty costs and reducing labour requirements in the plant because of reduced rework.
Given the significant stress that the workforce has been under as part of the closure the fact that both the staff and management are achieving world class manufacturing performance means that there is significant interest from other employers recruiting people who have been through this transformational journey. The company is operating a significant transition centre to assist workers in obtaining new careers following the closure, as well as assisting those in the supply chain.
One key takeaway from this tour was that the leadership and culture of the organisation had significantly transformed, and Holden employees would be a great acquisition to any organisation that is looking to improve their operational performance, through continual improvement by lean thinking methodology.
It was a real privilege for all those involved to have an opportunity to visit and understand this iconic manufacturer, and their presence in Australia will be deeply missed. I would like to wish everyone of the staff and employees in Holden the very best with their future careers following the closure. As the determination and resilience they have shown through this period and in the operational excellence achieved in difficult circumstances is truly exemplary within the Australian manufacturing context.