SOLAR LEAN, LEADERSHIP AND LONG-TERM PERSPECTIVES THE CHALLENGE How do you make sure that everyone knows how their actions create value for others? And how do you make sure that they do their job as efficiently as possible? Some years ago, Solar’s group management carried out a survey among the employees. The results showed that the employees were not clear on the value they created for the customers, themselves or the organisation. Nor was the value created by the management clear to the employees. All this made one thing obvious: The management needed to be better at inspiring and informing its employees. At the same time, Solar wished to create closer ties and synergies among the individual countries by means of standardised working methods. Identical tasks were handled very differently from one country to the next – and from one employee to the next. It was clear that great advantages could be gained by aligning processes. THE SOLUTION Solar chose to introduce lean as an integrated part of the group’s management model. The aim was to introduce standardised processes, which also meant that all employees and managers across Solar companies (in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, and Poland) would share a common language and mindset. Two main principles were crucial for Solar’s lean implementation: Great focus on management from day one; and great focus on involving local organisations and employees so that they assume responsibility for their own improvements. Solar introduced systematic training on lean management and lean principles for all managers. The group also trained teams of lean agents at group and country level. These teams provide support and advice to the managers in the day-to-day work. The aim was to develop managers who involve and include their employees; who communicate well, and who have the ability to develop new competences and create change. ABOUT SOLAR Solar is one of the leading technical wholesalers in Northern Europe. The Solar group is an international wholesaler within electricity, ventilation and HVAC. Through its subsidiary Aurora Group, Solar is also active on the market for consumer electronics. Solar was established in 1919 under the name of Nordisk Solar Compagni. It has had its headquarters in Kolding ever since. The group has about 3,000 employees and companies in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Finland and the Faroe Islands. The annual turnover in 2009 was DKK 1,431million. Solar is listed at Nasdaq QMX Copenhagen. TESTIMONIAL “Knowing the meaning and impact of the work you do is crucial for your job satisfaction, regardless of what job you have.” Flemming Tomdrup, CEO, Solar “Our managers used to be specialists who would dictate all the right answers. Today, managers focus on training the employees and the organisation to find their own solutions.” Flemming Tomdrup, CEO, Solar.
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