Effective management of the organization is like a chess game. Victory belongs to those who mastered a priceless ability to predicts movements of the opponent within at least several next turns. This knowledge, combined with the ability to prepare a coherent plan to dominate the game and to response correctly to the moves, which we were not able to predict, allows us to enjoy triumph every single time. One could count on the fingers of one hand those companies which, through their managers are characterized by all the above – mentioned features. One of such companies is NORMA Group – a global leader in the automotive industry. And one of the most important part of the Group is NORMA Polska Sp. z o.o. - an organization that, thanks to the creativity and integrity of its Employees has changed over the last few years from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan, setting standards of quality and efficiency within the whole group.
The history of the company
The history of NORMA Polska Sp. z o.o., though brief, is also very dynamic and interesting. The birth of the company under its present name dates back to December 29, 2006, when NORMA Germany – part of the NORMA Group bought 25% of shares of a dynamically developing firm NORMA VARIANT. The natural consequence of this decision was a change of the company’s Board, the reorganization of the organizational structure, adoption of the name NORMA Poland Sp. z o. o. and the inclusion of the new company into structures of NORMA Group. At the moment, NORMA Group is one of the world’s most important creators of engineering solutions and applications for efficient use of energy sources in areas such as Cooling Systems, Air Intake and Induction, Emission Control, Ancillary Systems and Infrastructure. The company owns its production facilities on four continents, from India to Mexico and from Thailand to Sweden. NORMA Polska Sp. z o.o. is one of the most important elements of the Group. The company, based in Sławniów, in the region of Upper Silesia, is responsible for assembly of plastic components and systems for flow and and extrusion of corrugated tubes for other companies within the Group. Majors, which have received the NORMA Group’s products include: BMW, Volkswagen, Scania, Peugeot, Renault. It is worth to mention that already in 2007 NORMA Polska Sp. z o.o. started direct sales to the customers of the Group.
The pillars of success
Any organization, to effectively and dynamically develop its business, has to meet several basic requirements, irrespectively of the area, in which it operates. First and foremost, the company’s competitive position should be very strong. This position is dependent on the willingness of Customers to purchase products or services that the company offers. If this rate is supposed to grow continously, the producer has to offer a very high quality product, coupled with competitive price and well – functioning Customer Service procedures. With regard to NORMA Polska Sp. z o.o., meeting these requirements is particularly difficult due to the nature of production processes taking place in the company’s factories. The life cycle of products manufactured by the Employees is very short and specific requirements for the final batch of goods causes that their installation process has to be mostly manual. This means that the Employees become the most important component of the potential of the organization, because it is up to the work of their hands to achieve the final quality of the product and, consequently, the level of satisfaction of Recipients. Such a situation determines the approach to the issue of staff selection, training and evaluation of Employees’ work. Despite extremely difficult circumstances, NORMA Polska Sp. z o.o. achieved great success in the field of its activity, although many augured its defeat. The company meanwhile developed a very complex and yet coherent plan of introducing Employees to the specific manufacturing process, thanks to which anyone within over 620 Employees, currently working for the company, is nowadays a tastely morsel for the competition. However, the beginnings were not easy. Very high rate of unemployment in the county of Zawiercie, in which the company has its headquarters, the initial reluctance of a young, talented generation of managers to work in the region, lack of proper infrastructure – all these factors caused that only few years ago, it was very hard to even imagine the success of the plant in Sławniów. Focus on recruitment among the local staff, rich motivational programs for the executives, modern base of the company, ensuring the comfort of employment of hundreds of people and the ability to effectively negotiate with the local authorities – all those decisions caused that ultimately NORMA Polska Sp. z o.o. has grown into one of the major employers in the area, the quality of products offered by the company is on the highest, world – class level, and the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Leon Podmokły, can be proud of how important place his company occupies within the Group. It is enough to mention that NORMA Poland Sp. z o.o. generates as much as about 10% of global turnover of the Group, and its budget highly evaluated by the Group’s Management. Employees themselves, although absolutely most important, would have no chance to effectively perform their duties without appropriate technological support and know – how, as well as ability to anticipate the future in regard to technical solutions used in production processes. NORMA Poland Sp. z o.o. not only has nothing to be ashamed of in this field, but even has the right to speak of itself as of an organization that sets the trends both in terms of product range, which it offers and intends to launch in the coming years, as well as solutions for production management. The company acts in accordance with the philosophy of World Class Continous Improvement Process, which involves continous improvement of work efficiency and better value of the machine utilization index. Currently the company implements the standards of production, which are to increase the above – mentioned value to 90% in the next few years. The aim is to reduce equipment downtime and to eliminate the so called “empty runs”, when the machine works, but does not manufacture. Optimal configuration of machines’ working time and, consequently, perfect use of that time in the production process, has the cardinal meaning not only for improving, already excellent, financial situation of the company (NORMA Polska Sp. z o.o. assumes a 25% rise in sales after the implementation of procedures to increase efficiency), but also for the image of company that has a very serious approach to the issue of environmental protection. The rise in efficiency of the utilization of machines in the production process means, after all, better utilization of energy as well. This fact becomes significantly important, if we realise that NORMA Polska Sp. z o.o. manufactures 2 to 3 million units of its products per month. With this scale of production, the trust of Consumers can be gained only thanks to the highest quality products and maximum limitation of the amount of faulty units. To achieve the latter objective, NORMA Polska Sp. z o.o. acts in accordance with the assumptions of the Lean Management theory, through which all the resources are fully utilized. The third important issue that allows the organization to effectively develop and plan its growth, is to create excellent Customer Service procedures. Ford has distinguished the company with the Q1 Quality Mark – the highest that Ford’s supplier can get, for all NORMA’s products. Similar distinctions from other world’s leading car manufacturers – NORMA’s Recipients, mean that NORMA Polska Sp. z o.o. is today one of the best suppliers of fluid systems and quick connectors in the automotive industry in Western Europe. Internal, implemented by the company Quality and Environmental Management System based on TS 16949 and ISO 14001 standards, enriched with, imposed by the company itself, very strict requirements on product quality and environmental standards, provides further evidence that NORMA Polska Sp. z o.o. is a company that can be bestowed with full trust.
Written by Jacek Głowacki