Waste management, sustainability, Perstorp. Three words that have a strong, however not very obvious, common connection. PWS; a company that since its inception in 1997 has strived for and cared for a more sustainable future and where the company’s core values are strongly impacted by local influences. When the core business Perstorp AB made a division of the sections that the business was based upon, PWS was founded to run the section that focused on the production and sales of garbage cans. The product consists of a number of different variants of solutions for waste management, and the customer is municipalities around the country. Production takes place locally in the factory in Perstorp, but also in the company’s own factories in France and Germany. The major goal is a circular economy and to always protect the environment.
When processes work, but still do not
”The municipality wants us to continue to do what we do. We are a large company, but still, we seem like a small one”, says Danica Palm, who works with finance, IT and HR. For Danica, it was the vision of a more sustainable future that attracted her to PWS almost a year ago.
After starting her employment, Danica started digging into the company’s processes and realized that the business was facing many challenges. While everything worked as it should, no one really knew how and why it worked. When a reorganization was made, Danica quickly saw that there was an uncertainty about why things should be done.
”I asked: what is the challenge? This question led up to a 6-page document with bullet points, most of them concerning uncertainties regarding the ERP. And then I realized that basic training for everyone should be a good start”.
PWS contacted Littlefish and a training plan was created, based on the checklist that was previously developed. The plan was set up to consist of a number of training sessions, where a consultant visited the PWS office to hold the sessions. Each session had a specific focus, and each session started with some time to ask questions that had come up since the last session. Danica believes that this arrangement was the key to the success of the training.
”I do not think the result would have been as good if we have comprimsed the training to one single week. Then I think people would have forgotten most of the information, and it would have been hard to get answers to the questions that might arise after a training session, when you start to actually execute that you have learnt. With this plan, everyone got the chance to work with the system in between the training sessions, which allowed them to bring questions to the following session. Parts or steps that were extra hard could then be repeated. I think that was the reason why the training became so successful”.
Credibility and self-esteem
Thanks to the training, everyone now has the same foundation and can now work in the same way. Further, when executing a task, everyone now knows how this will trigger other actions throughout other modules of the system. The result has been that trust in the system has increased, as you now know why the numbers in the system appear, as well as how to interpret them.
“I believe it starts with credibility and self-esteem. If you know what you are doing, you can treat the customer in a better way. If the customer proposes something and you don’t know what the possibilities are, you might promise something that will then be difficult to live up to. So the most important thing about the training has been to build credibility. But also trust in the system, to trust the system. The system works for us, not the other way around.”
Danica continues by saying that it was a very good timing to do the training when they did. The employees longed to see each other and were tired of the pandemic. Further, more and more people began to realize that if the business is to be able to scale up, a change in the way of working would be needed. All in all, training was an absolutely necessary investment.
”IF we had not gone through this training, our staff would have been burnt out, we would have had weaker communication towards our customers, and we would have been irritated with each other. It did cost us, but it was a one-time cost and it is urgent to continuously invest in the knowledge and well-being of the employees”.
Knowing the system also makes it possible to challenge it by questioning and coming up with new ideas. That way, you can continue to develop the system for the better. Danica says that there is a completely different energy and higher self-esteem in the team after the training. At the same time, there has been a positive attitude towards other changes and many express both curiosity and commitment regarding other steps that the company will take. Previously, each person had their own way of managing their daily tasks in the business system, which made it difficult for someone else to take over. Now that everyone has the same stable foundation to lean on, it is easier for employees to help each other and cover for each other. One result of this is that the stress level has decreased and an employee can go on vacation without having to worry about how the stand-in will be able to cope with the work. Now, the employee comes back to the office, fully rested and without a full mailbox to deal with.
More training in the future.
By ensuring high quality knowledge in the company’s ERP system, doors have thus been opened for further changes and development. The system’s potential can be used in a better way and the employees have gained new energy and motivation. However, Danica sees no end to the need for education and to continue building knowledge.
“It has caused a ripple effect among the employees and the organization. When you truly know the system, you can also come up with suggestions and new ideas for improvements. But we will absolutely have to continue. As we get deeper into the system, more questions arise, and it is important to keep the momentum going.”