RENOLIT Blog

A tool for a strong culture of improvement: The Operational Excellence Award

A post by:     Sven Behrendt
Executive Board Member
Last updated: 2024-06-10

We at RENOLIT have the ambition to constantly improve ourselves. For this purpose, we have created a very special instrument:  The annual Operational Excellence Award. With this award, we recognize locations and teams within the company that have made a special contribution to establishing a genuine culture of improvement. This is a strong example of how industrial companies can drive continuous development internally.   

A genuine culture of improvement is needed

One thing is crystal clear to me: companies must constantly improve and develop in order to remain competitive. Ultimately, standing still always means going backwards.  

However, this is about much more than just making improvements at individual points.   

What companies need today is a genuine, far-reaching culture of improvement. This must extend through all levels - from unskilled workers to skilled workers and managers.   

Such a culture of improvement cannot simply be imposed from above. It must come from within.   

Appreciate improvements and make successes visible

Establishing a strong culture of improvement is a holistic and long-term challenge. At RENOLIT, we have been working on this in a variety of ways for many years.  

One new, powerful tool is the Operational Excellence Award, which we presented for the first time in 2022.  

It arose from the conviction that improvements in the company must receive real recognition. Success must be visible to everyone. This not only creates motivation, but also internal role models.   

Every year, we now present the Operational Excellence Award to one of our global locations that has made a particular commitment to sustainable improvements and has developed in an outstanding way.

Our Operational Excellence Initiative

Of course, the focus is not on an award, but on a long-term initiative for operational excellence. We have a very specific, measurable goal for this: we want to identify and sustainably realize improvement potential amounting to three percent of individual variable plant costs.  

This target has already been significantly exceeded at some locations.   

The plants must proceed in a very structured manner, evaluate continuously and implement a clear roadmap.  

It is particularly important to us whether a plant has succeeded in achieving a cultural change among employees towards excellence as a result of the measures.  

The award

Our central Corporate Operational Excellence team evaluates the key figures submitted by the plants, carries out structured assessments and gains an in-depth impression of the cultural change achieved through numerous discussions with employees on site. On this basis, we decide which plant will receive the award.  

Aspects of sustainability are an important part of this - beyond pure operational excellence. The focus here is on the circular economy. The full title of the award is therefore also “Best Performer Award 2023 for Operational Excellence and RENOLIT Goes Circular”. This is intended to make it clear that RENOLIT constantly strives for improvements in terms of sustainability and climate protection. 

In 2022, I was able to present the award to our RENOLIT plant in Cramlington, UK, for the first time. The energy and passion that this plant has shown inspires us all and shows the potential of this measure.  

The next winner has already been chosen and will be presented with their award shortly. I'm really looking forward to that!  

Result: motivation for improvements increases

The response to the initiative and the award has been overwhelmingly positive. And that's not all: in conversations with our Operational Excellence Managers, I keep hearing that the award encourages the entire team to think and act for the long term in their day-to-day work.  

Our greatest insight is that we need a shared mission that gets everyone on board. The Operational Excellence Initiative and the associated award motivate and encourage the commitment to be a part of it.   

Conclusion: excellence is our path

Like a sports team, we at RENOLIT are learning every day and surpassing ourselves. The Operational Excellence Award is a tool that helps us to develop together and become better and better. At the same time, it helps us to break down barriers across locations and act as a team