Lean management isn’t a system of improvement built on defined rules, it’s one that is underlined by culture, and championed by leaders like Fitri Afriyanti, of PT GENTS, Indonesia.
Fitri joined GE as an engineer in 2016, going on to become a continuous improvement lead in 2018, with a role focused on assessing and introducing successful improvement processes. In 2020 all that hard work was rewarded with Fitri stepping up to become Site Lean Leader in PT GENTS.
As the lean person at PT GENTS gas turbine repair facility, Fitri’s role is to build the foundations of lean culture, helping embrace a methodology designed to empower workers to influence and drive change.
“Lean is providing the tools for a philosophy of make it simple, and make it easy,” said Fitri, speaking recently to GE Reports. “It’s about helping people to solve problems and improve everything they do.”
That idea of ongoing improvement is critical to lean principles – that no process is rigid, and that finding ways to improve can be built on strong teamwork and an innovative approach to operations. There’s perhaps never been a time where those principles have been tested to such extremes as during the last year of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Fitri’s role as a Site Lean Leader put her at the forefront of this challenge over the last 12 months.
“The tools were already in place,” said Fitri, reflecting on the hurdles faced during COVID-19. “We already know our plan for operations here. We have the lean mindset, and the tools, to make sure we remained productive. We can still make improvements and make our facility more productive despite COVID-19.”
The importance of lean management is clear at a facility like PT GENTS – responsible for servicing vital power generation equipment in a country where GE technology accounts for approximately 30% of total power generation. Keeping the wheels turning smoothly ensures the turbines are turning smoothly in the nation’s vital power infrastructure.
“Lean is about making it easier for people to work.”
“From the management perspective, lean is about making it easier for people to work, and more productive, and efficient while doing their work,” highlights Fitri.
Fitri’s role is a critical component in driving forward meaningful transformation. It’s about engaging leaders who can not only push for positive change but help work with their teams to ensure they understand how and why it’s so important.
“Lean management is about being sensitive to workers and understanding what’s wrong. Gemba walks offer a chance to see things on the floor, and if we find something to improve, I can discuss with the worker about how we can make things better,” says Fitri.
Lean works to engage experienced teams of people, to deliver powerful improvements to processes. That’s been a particularly important journey for Fitri and the team at PT GENTS in recent months, as they took the lead rolling out on improvement processes despite the operational challenges they faced.
“We have been working towards a target to reduce the cost of production, by focusing on new production line processes. We’re continuing to achieve reduction in production costs through this lean approach,” Fitri told GE Reports.
The production line transformation which Fitri is leading is designed to streamline the maintenance of turbine equipment, replacing traditional batch maintenance techniques. Fitri works closely across the team of engineers, helping identify individual steps in the process, analyzing and exploring opportunities for improvement. Each step is another area of potential optimization, which together leads to a more efficient process.
The first Lean Line process introduced in PT GENTS provided an encouraging look at the benefits such optimization can deliver. A comprehensive lean approach helped design a line workflow that reduced the labor hours on medium jobs by 20% and reduced the hours on heavy jobs by 30%. That not only results in more efficient use of resources, but faster turnarounds for customers.
This improvement process is driving even more substantial benefits in the latest implementation, with the Stage 123 Shroud Lean Flow Line. Fitri and the lean team at PT GENTS worked to analyze the root cause of any problems in the process, including the lack of standardized workflow system. They then worked with the engineering team to create standard work processes, establishing defect repair standard categories, and designing a Lean Line allows the process to flow more smoothly. This not only reduced labor hours by 57%, but also cut 4 weeks from the process — a 61% fall in lead time.
Despite the challenges constantly present over the last 12 months, Fitri and the management at PT GENTS have continued to focus on improvements. This included engaging 20 participating staff on a focused Lean Week targeted at optimizing production and reducing operational costs.
“At PT GENTS, we’re focusing on getting six production lines operational in the future. We already have three in place, and we’re targeting another line by June. This production line standard makes it easier for our workers, improves our production lead time, and helps us achieve our targets around reducing production costs,” says Fitri.
It’s not about getting things perfect the first time Fitri points out, but about not being afraid to try new things and constantly push improvements.
“The concept of lean is about getting better and making it easier.”
Thanks to Fitri’s commitment, lean is a culture that’s now deeply embedded at PT GENTS, and one which she argues goes hand-in-hand with digital and technological innovations.
“Technology should make it easier for us to do our work. Digital analytics is part of that, helping us gather more data and understanding historical data, and providing a standard for us to improve on with our lean management efforts.”
Lean management will continue to drive opportunities for GE facilities across Southeast Asia and around the world. Building the next generation of improvements isn’t just about encouraging process optimization but finding enthusiastic champions like Fitri to support that culture as an engine of change.
“The concept of lean is about getting better and making it easier. That means the first thing you should do is go to the field and understand what you want to improve, explore the current mistakes, analyze them, make a plan, follow the rules, then try something new,” concludes Fitri.
“Improvements take time, but it all starts with the mindset.”
PT GENTS is a GE Centre of Excellence for global repair of gas turbines located in Bandung, Indonesia. This facility employs delivers repairs on B- and E-class stationary components for gas turbines.