Harmonizing processes: Kiremko's business transformation
In many companies, much of the expertise is 'trapped' in the heads of the employees. Especially when the company starts growing, like machine builder Kiremko did, it can be quite a challenge to centralize this knowledge. That's why Kiremko called in the help of Flexso. Together, we documented all the processes with a streamlined approach.
Kiremko is a machine builder for the potato-processing industry. “We deliver turnkey solutions for our customers, which means that they can come to us for an entire production line", says Anne Rutges, project leader at Kiremko. "That makes us pretty unique in our market." As a result, Kiremko is growing. In a few years’ time, the company expanded to over 200 employees. Their machines are now shipped all over the world, from the United States to New-Zealand.
Growth challenges at Kiremko
"Growth traditionally comes with some pains. In our case, our way of working was not sufficiently documented", says Anne. “The most experienced employees had a lot of process knowledge in their heads. This has two consequences. There is no harmonized way of working, and when you onboard new people, you have to rely on on-the-job coaching from more experienced colleagues."
Before documenting our processes, we had no harmonized way of working and onboarding new employees was much more difficult.
Unifying business processes with SAP Signavio
As continuous improvement is one the strategic priorities at Kiremko, they decided to centralize and standardize their processes in every department – from production and quality to finance and operations. “This was the first step in our business transformation journey,” Anne explains, “After all, unified processes are a must for future improvements and innovations.”
The project was defined in two phases:
- Describe and align the business processes
- Describe the process documentation
On top of that, SAP Signavio was the tool of choice to cover all requirements, from collecting, analyzing and in a later stage improving business processes. "We were already using SAP S/4HANA 1809, which our own IT team had implemented in 2020. Future integration was one of the requirements for the tool, so staying within the SAP ecosystem was a logical decision", Anne explains. "Moreover, Signavio is incredibly user-friendly and accessible.”
In a first phase of the project, every user at Kiremko received a hub license, so they could view all the processes and give feedback on the way these were documented.
From business processes to detailed work instructions
After Kiremko decided to implement Signavio, they called in Flexso's help to document all business processes in a centralized and integrated way.
Anne: "We started with a global analysis of our departments, responsibilities and main business processes. This covered every aspect of our business: production, sales, HR, marketing, project engineering, finance, quality control… Once this was mapped out, we began documenting the more detailed subprocesses for every department, such as specific work instructions for the machine assembly. We currently have over 500 processes defined in the Signavio Hub, of which we have described about half the processes. Step by step we’re making progress with all colleagues involved.”
The approach: engage all employees
The project team wanted to involve all departments in the transformation, in order to create awareness about the importance of a unified way of working.
Anne: " Every department is responsible for collecting and documenting their processes. Engaging everyone was, in fact, a challenge since the project is running simultaneously with our day-to-day business. We initially had to convince users to free up time and put in the effort to work on this project. But it worked. Thanks to a 4-day training, followed by a monthly Q&A, Flexso helped us to document the processes independently.
"The great thing is that, from the start, all colleagues started thinking about how we could make certain processes better or more efficient. Improving the processes is only planned for a next phase. We gather all feedback in the collaboration hub of Signavio, and processes are adjusted in the process manager. The process governance module, finally, is used to automate the approval of every process."
The results: more cooperation and a harmonized way of working
"The results of the project so far are mostly qualitative", says Anne. "Our employees become more aware of the entire business process, and their roles in it. There's more cooperation between colleagues and departments. During these sessions we see our colleagues sharing knowledge, which helps in dissipating the 'island culture'. This culture is at the heart of optimizing our processes and taking the next step in our business transformation."