Turkish Gold Mine Uses Lean, Kaizen to Improve Performance

Turkish Gold Mine Uses Lean, Kaizen to Improve Performance

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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In 2013, the Tuprag mining company in Turkey faced two situations that severely impacted the company’s ability to effectively run the Efemcukuru gold mine.

First, gold prices dropped from a high of $1,900 in 2011 to about $1,300.

Second, safety risks were increasing and production performance falling because of inadequate operations that had placed the company in a situation where they could not continue as before.

“We didn’t even have enough space to move around quickly and safely, neither underground nor on the surface workplaces,” Tuprag’s process superintendent at the mine, Selcuk Turan, wrote. “By the time 2013 came, we knew we couldn’t keep working like that.”

The company found the answers it was looking for by turning to Lean Six Sigma.

Lean Institute of Turkey

The mining company sought advice from the Lean Institute of Turkey, an organization that puts Lean Six Sigma methodology to work for Turkish companies. The institute was established in 2002 to support organizations in their effort “to fulfill their vision and targets in an ever-increasingly globalized world.”

For Tuprag, the focus became finding methods to survive the fluctuations in the gold price market while maintaining a profitable business. Turan wrote that “knowing this is a matter of life or death in our business, we decided to become a more robust mining enterprise by basing our culture and processes on the idea of continuous improvement.”

That involved adaption of a handful of successful Lean Six Sigma methodologies. However, they met initial resistance. Much like other companies not involved with manufacturing – which is where Lean methodology began – workers in the mining company did not immediately see the value in Lean.

Often-heard opposition, according to Turan, included: “We are Turkish miners, not Japanese carmakers.” Also, “Mines are different, unique environments.”

However, after six months of seeing positive results, the company had buy-in from executives and employees alike. Here are some strategies they employed.

5S – This stands for sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain. This is employed to manage and organize a workspace and address issues such as workplace clutter, efficient storage, creating a standardized schedule to sustain cleanliness and order and regular training in these areas.

Kaizen – This involves every single employee buying into the philosophy that small but continuous positive improvements can lead to a big impact on improving a company’s performance. Kaizen looks at all steps in a business process and encourages every employee to make suggestions for improvement, no matter how minor.

Standard Work – This involves creating the best standards for accomplishing a specific task, and then adhered to in order to sustain positive results.

Total Productive Maintenance – This involves integrating equipment maintenance into the overall production plan. The goal is to create a maintenance plan that reduces downtime that results from equipment malfunction.

Value Stream Mapping – This term encompasses the evaluation of an entire process and finding areas of waste. These usually come in eight major areas: defects, over-production, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion and extra processing.

Mining Company Accomplishments

Putting these Lean strategies into play, Tuprag achieved many goals that improved its business performance.

  • Using Value Stream Mapping, the company realized that one of its biggest areas of waste involved shipping materials to the mine separately. That led to excess costs and lots of wait time. They created material storage areas for each active part of the mine that are restocked hourly, leading to a 5% reduction in cost for every five meters excavated.
  • Using Kaizen, employees worked to make small changes to reduce the amount of non-gold bearing ore that was transported back to the manufacturing plant. Over time, this material was cut from 25% to just 9% of transported ore, saving the company millions of dollars.
  • Using Total Productive Maintenance, the company developed a “health plan” for each piece of equipment that involved routine maintenance. This resulted in less time lost due to broken down equipment. This also saved hundreds of thousands of dollars previously spent on expensive, new equipment.

These results represent just some of the savings realized by the company. It’s yet another example of how Lean, if used correctly, can change the fortunes of an organization no matter what industry it works in.

The post Turkish Gold Mine Uses Lean, Kaizen to Improve Performance appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

Original: http://www.sixsigmadaily.com/turkish-gold-mine-uses-lean-kaizen-improve-performance/
By: James LoPresti
Posted: December 7, 2017, 1:00 pm

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