Kaizen boosts efficiency and employee satisfaction

Phoenix Mecano Elcom (Tunisia) has been recognised as a Kaizen model company.

Since 1975, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been promoting the Kaizen system in Tunisia as part of an economic development project. The 'model company' award for Elcom Tunisie shows how successfully the Kaizen philosophy is being implemented within the firm. This is also reflected in the numbers. 

Elcom Tunisie specialises in the manufacture and assembly of electromechanical components such as plug connectors, µ switches, contact pins and small coils. These products are used in the assembly of electronic circuit boards in all areas of application.

In 2011, the unstable situation in Tunisia raised the question of whether the factory should be relocated to Morocco. However, the management in Tunisia wanted to create the conditions that would allow production to continue in the country. This meant cutting production costs, diversifying the product range and increasing profit margins, all without substantial capital expenditure and while retaining the labour-intensive system of manual assembly. 

Taking part in the Kaizen project led to significant boosts in both productivity and product quality. It also enabled the headcount to be increased to more than 1 500. 

Kaizen has greatly enhanced the working environment. New standards have codified the most efficient ways to do jobs, helped to keep work areas clean and tidy, and reduced the number of workplace accidents.  At the same time, employees have developed a palpable sense of belonging and of shared responsibility.

Regular Gemba Kaizen circles aim to continuously improve activities at the production site. The company's managers have also got on board. Production processes and the design of human-machine interfaces are discussed collectively, and the constant optimisation of tasks has led to measurable efficiency gains and greater employee satisfaction.