Business Process Redesign at Lafarge Cement
Lafarge Cement is one of the leaders of the Romanian cement market with operations is three plants (Medgidia, Hoghiz, Târgu Jiu) and headquarters in Bucharest. The company is part of the Lafarge Group, a worldwide leader in construction materials.
The CROSS project derived from the need to achieve an alignment between the production, delivery and commercial activities after a period of organization restructuring following the privatisation of the company in 1997. The overall goal of the project was to improve the service delivered to customers through a more efficient organization of commercial related processes and activities.
In July 2002 the project core team was assembled and included one of our consultants. His contribution to the project covered project management (introduction and active utilisation of a project management methodology), organisational audit (identification of the actual status of processes and the way activities were carried on), business process redesign (redefinition of processes and activities), restructuring (redefinition of organizational structures, roles and responsibilities), development and implementation of project solutions, internal and external communication (preparation, communication and presentation of formal project documents and results).
The first stage of the project consisted of an organisational audit focused on the upper part of the supply chain (from customer orders going back to product loading and delivery, stock management and production). The objective of the audit was to identify what were the strengths and weaknesses of the processes undertaken in this area and to understand the issues and constraints affecting the performance of the organization.
The second stage consisted in the development of solutions dedicated to solve the issues identified in the first stage and to improve the way various functions and teams within the organization worked together and contributed to the service delivered to the customer. These solutions were presented and discussed with the company’s management and their validity was tested before the actual implmentation.
The third stage consisted in a pilot introduction of project solutions in one location. During this time the project team had the chance to test once again its proposals for change, to make corrections and adjustments. The pilot implementation was followed by the deployment of project solutions in the other two locations of the company.
The fourth stage represented a go-live phase in which the project team handed over the new solutions to the people in the field and in this way the organisation took responsibility over the new processes, activities, structures, methodods, tools, new roles and relationships that were introduced by the project.
The most important aspects of this project were:
- a structured approach to project management including the definition of the project scope, objectives, time frames, preparation of project plans, development of project documents, regular communication of project status and results;
- the organisation of the project including a core team, an extended team, a number of expert teams, the steering committee. This helped the breakdown and assignment of project activities and the communication between the various participants to the project;
- the constant involvement of the company’s employees in all stages of the project, the good communication and co-operation between the project team and the organization as a whole;
- the alignment of the project with other projects and internal initiatives. The company achieved very important synergies between its various projects undertaken in the same period of time, leading to time savings, improved decisions, mutual support of solutions, faster results, etc.;
- the project was a success, its solutions were accepted by the organization, many of them being considerd as cornerstones for future developments.