Businessexcellence September 07 28 Bruce Silberman tells Martin Ashcroft about the distinctive features of The Haldex Way, and how lean and six sigma complement each other change agent One thing I find fascinating when talking to people about their lean journeys is that every one of them is unique. They all start at a different time from a different place, of course, but although they tend to pass the same signposts and landmarks (5s, value stream mapping, kaizen, etc) they are not always in the same order, and are viewed from different perspectives. Every lean program I have come across has its own distinctive features, and its own way of traveling, shaped by the nature of the company and the people leading the program. “We started dabbling in approximately 2000,” says Bruce Silberman, change agent at Haldex, a global manufacturer of hydraulic and other vehicle components headquartered in Sweden. Haldex published a booklet called The Haldex Way, and distributed it to all employees. It was The
September 07 Businessexcellence Haldex 29 There are currently three change agents with responsibility for Haldex’ entire global operations. Two are based in the US, and one in France. Another one is set to join the team in September, who will be based in Sweden. For a job with a simple title, it carries a huge responsibility. “I have two different roles,” says Silberman. “One is strategic, which is a global role, then I have a mentoring role for six sites in the Americas. In addition to those roles I am also a six sigma black belt, so I’m often in other facilities working with them on six sigma. That is my specialty.” Silberman has been with Haldex since 1993, starting in a hydraulics plant in Rockford, Illinois as an engineering intern. After several shop floor positions and a spell in manufacturing engineering in the quality department, prototype department and then design engineering, he came to the hydraulics like giving them a map of the Promised Land without telling anybody why they should go there. There was no training to accompany it, and no follow up, so no-one went. “It took a couple of years before the company realized that publishing a booklet and expecting people to move forwards on their own was not going to be enough to make it happen,” says Silberman. “So in January of 2003 the change agent team met for the first time. That first meeting was in Stockholm, Sweden, with a very senior executive. The five of us met and determined how to move forward with the lean process.” The choice of terminology says a lot about Haldex. In the UK, there is a brand of varnish (Ronseal, owned by US coatings producer Sherwin-Williams Company) that once conjured an advertising campaign with the immortal slogan ‘it does what it says on the tin’. Change agent does the same thing. It doesn’t need a convoluted title.