Behind the scenes: Frederick’s Six Sigma projects
KNPS Facilitator Frederick leads different types of Six Sigma projects for different customers. Coming from a non-logistics environment, he had a steep learning curve ahead of him at the start of his Kuehne + Nagel career. Being surrounded by experienced colleagues, he gradually learned the tricks of the trade. According to Frederick, “in project management, the skill is to pick the right team. You can’t be an expert in everything. Instead you choose the experts, you guide them, and gradually you learn from them.”
Working in teams of experts is also what motivates Frederick in his role focused on continuous improvement. “The fun part is that you get to solve complex issues in cooperation with your colleagues”, he says. According to Frederick, part of that complexity lies in the statistical approach needed to break down the large variety of potential improvement points and to formulate proposals that should enhance those statistics. Nowadays, the ways to do that often involve automation.
In one improvement project, as a simple example, Frederick and his team investigated the benefits of implementing an automated conveyor belt with working platforms to make a process for one customer’s products more efficient. “Before our warehouse workers constantly spent time walking around from one station to another, now they can just stay where they are and be more productive in the same amount of time”, he explains. But his is just the tip of the iceberg of all types of interesting improvement projects tackled by our KNPS team.
Right after our chat, Frederick has to travel to another Kuehne + Nagel site to sit together with other colleagues for a project centered focused on quality. A lot of time is being spent on pick bin checks for one of our customers in the Healthcare business. “Too much time”, Frederick adds. “And I’m sure that is not necessary. So our goal is to reduce the time spent doing pick bin checks without giving up our high quality standards. We’ll sit together with the customer to align and to find a solution that pleases both parties.”
Despite Kuehne + Nagel’s outspoken culture of continuous improvement, many of these projects are executed behind the scenes. Yet their impact is of immense value to our business and that of our customers. Another motivator for Frederick, who so far has completed four projects. “But I only started my job in May 2018”, he clarifies, “and I’m already looking forward to the projects that will come my way in the future!”
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