ShawCor Ltd. stays focused and aligned on its journey to excellence after launching its industry-leading continuous improvement plan in 2006, which ensures the standardization and improvement of its business and manufacturing processes.

“Our leadership recognized that initiating the ShawCor Manufacturing System [SMS] journey would complement our growth strategy by significantly influencing our continued efforts to differentiate ourselves from our competitors,” the company says. “It would do so by improving ShawCor’s overall operational excellence in all its processes and services, creating a reliable, high-performance organization.”

The global energy services company based in Ontario operates nine divisions delivering technology-based products and services for the pipeline and pipe services, petrochemical and industrial markets. ShawCor is growth-oriented and operates in more than 75 manufacturing and service facilities in more than 18 countries. “ShawCor has a mix of both traditional and non-traditional manufacturing, which includes fixed plants to project-based plants, mobile plants and wide-ranging service-based operations,” the company says.

Creating a Plan

ShawCor’s SMS draws on the best elements of lean, Six Sigma, other world-class operational systems and the company’s own experience, according to the company. SMS brings the company’s customers on-time, on-budget and higher-quality performance by continuously improving and standardizing business and manufacturing processes.

The SMS guidebook is the standard point of reference used by the organization for SMS program specifications, methodologies, standard practices and assessment criteria. Measuring its progress in the implementation of SMS is vital to its success, which is why each division is measured by four operational metrics: first time quality, material variance/waste, efficiency and downtime.

ShawCor’s SMS assessment program evaluates each site’s level of implementation of the continuous improvement plan, and performance is assessed annually against the eight measurable elements defined in the guidebook.

The company achieved nearly $60 million in cumulative annual savings in 2013 as a result of improved efficiencies, material variance reductions and manufacturing process improvements. “These cost savings are a measure of the financial benefits of creating the desired culture, leadership and reliable processes, and sustaining our competitive advantage through SMS,” the company explains.

Reliable Performance

ShawCor’s customers expect a flawless on-time, on-budget performance, which requires procedures to be documented and followed. The company can identify failure modes of a product or process and evaluate the level or risk through its failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA).

“Using FMEA as a reference, we develop written descriptions of the process and product or service characteristics into control plans,” ShawCor explains. “These include periodic requirements for process monitoring, including statistical methods to analyze process capability and reaction plans to control variation within the specified limits.”

Unplanned downtime can have a major impact on cost and ShawCor’s ability to deliver products or services on time. Because of this, the SMS asset management and reliability program outlines a four-phase approach to leadership and employee engagement to eliminate downtime, prevent and predict failures and have zero interruptions.

Developing a Culture

ShawCor has more than 8,000 employees around the world and most of the company’s facilities are operated by local and regional employees. The company has developed a culture where its people are aligned and engaged; ensure the reliability, quality and delivery of value to its internal and external customers; make problems visible so they can be resolved; and share best practices.

The company holds regularly scheduled, two-way discussions between leaders and employees during what it calls the daily management process (DMP). The meetings help employees stay engaged and vocal about ways to improve the business.

Continuous Improvement

To ensure its business and manufacturing processes continue to improve and are standardized in its plants around the world, ShawCor shares best practices through summits, meetings and the SMS portal and database.

The SMS database includes workshop and training packages, templates and standard forms, the guidebook, master plans, best practice examples, initiatives and projects. SMS portal offers news, communications, the events calendar, resources, best practices and links to metrics and assessments.

“We developed the SMS vision, roadmap and guidebook to keep us focused and aligned on our journey to excellence and to make SMS the way of life in our company,” ShawCor explains. “Critical elements to achieving our vision are strong and supportive leadership, the desired culture and reliable processes. These elements along with strategic programs and a collaborative approach are key to the advancement of SMS at our facilities around the world.”