Having a continual improvement process (CIP) in place is not only required by ISO standards, but it is something that we strive for on a daily basis at Yuanda. From our manufacturing plants to the final facade clean (post-installation), the continual improvement process can be implemented at each stage. In short, there is always room for improvement!
In order to get a better understanding of how our process works I sat down with Arpàd Szakàcs from our office in Basel, Switzerland to discuss what the CIP process is and how it has improved over the years.
I’m the Management Representative for Quality, Environment and Health and Safety for Yuanda Europe Ltd. and responsible for the implementation of the Integrated Management System according to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 (which replaced OHSAS 18001).
“Anyone who stops improving has stopped being good” (Robert Bosch)
The CIP process consists of continually improving the baseline standard by which we operate company-wide. Through the standardisation of our processes, we are able to identify and implement improvements which continually raise our baseline performance.
This is one of the key business philosophies within Yuanda. It is not only because the ISO standards require this, but because we believe that “continuous improvement” of our systems, processes and products is the best way for us to stand out from the competition in the competitive curtain wall industry.
Yuanda has implemented this process since our first certification (September 2011) but in 2018 this process was specifically targeted by the Executive Management of Yuanda Europe Ltd. as our priority number one going forward.
Every month the team is encouraged to submit areas in which improvements can be made. Votes are then cast and the winning proposal is announced. They are then awarded that month’s coveted prize!
Anyone from Yuanda can send in a proposal. The topics raised in the CIP proposals can (and do) relate to any and all processes/activities within the company.
The acceptance of involvement company-wide in this process has increased by an order of magnitude. The quality of the suggestions has improved. Our implementation of the proposals has already brought major improvements in our installation processes as well as providing advanced technical solutions from the engineering/design team.
The most important rule in the CIP process is the processing of all suggestions and providing timely feedback to all those who have made a proposal. There is no such thing as a bad CIP proposal!
At the moment we are trying to further optimise the process and quantify the value of the proposals after the fact a thorough FMEA analysis.
I would like to finish by thanking all of the team at Yuanda Europe Ltd. for their continual contributions to this process!
We have an overwhelming number of submissions every month. As a recent illustration of some of our CIP award winners, we will look at a couple of small examples in which we are continually improving the baseline quality by which we operate.
Our design department identified that we would run into difficulty on-site installing the fire barrier Rockwool in front of the columns. The standard Rockwool hangars (z-clips) would inevitably clash with the fire boards which needed to be installed within the slab cavity. These are essential to prevent the spread of smoke/fire spread to the adjacent apartment.
We premade a number of small Rockwool hangars which can wrap around the column and be fixed to the adjacent face of the column. This enabled the team to implement a safer installation methodology while providing an equal level of support for the Rockwool and no obstruction to the fire barrier.
It may seem simple in hindsight but this small design change (before getting on-site) enabled the hangars to be included with the elements when they were delivered to site. This saved countless hours of onsite fabrication and potential delays to the ongoing installation. We now implement this as standard on similar designs.
That said, our design department is still human and does inevitably rely on the installation team to get the panels on the building. The facade installation process is in a continual state of optimisation. Both on a single site as the installation methodology evolves up the tower, and across the installation teams on all our sites. We share our tips and tactics through the CIP documentation.
One recent example of this came from the team at The Madison. Yuanda highlighted a narrow shim that was very challenging to restrain. When working at height, even a small shim such as this can be extremely dangerous if it were to fall from the facade.
The Yuanda team on-site developed a method of magnetic restraint that can be used on not only this shim but a number of small components where standard tethering systems are not feasible. The magnet is strong enough that the shim cannot be easily dislodged until it is resting in place beneath the heavy facade bracket.
This technique was included in the Balfour Beatty submission for a Considerate Constructors award at The Madison. They then went on to win a 2019 gold award in the more than £50m (project size) category. More on this in an upcoming news article!