A shared passion
Walking the talk: Continuous Improvement ‘across the ditch’
July 24, 2023

Ever wanted a different perspective on your day-to-day?

A great way to grow or build upon the skills you already have is to practice them in a different part of a business.

Continuous Improvement Lead Daniel Law took a change of scenery from his office in GrainCorp’s West Footscray food processing plant in Victoria, Australia, to ‘cross the ditch’ for a secondment at the site in East Tamaki, New Zealand.

The four-month secondment saw him tackle a range of challenges and implement some new initiatives – but it also taught him plenty in return.

“The first month was tough! East Tamaki has a different shift structure, and it took time to understand their processes – but it was made easier by the very welcoming team,” Daniel says. 

“This was an opportunity for me to drive change and apply my skills to make improvements, but I also got to develop my people management skills and build confidence.”

The GrainCorp team at East Tamaki, Auckland, celebrating an employee milestone

Daniel has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and has worked at large corporations such as Procter & Gamble and Nestle, but is currently focused on creating value for customers in the spread-making and oil packing processes at GrainCorp.

“Using continuous improvement tools and processes to eliminate non value added tasks is how I look at it, and spending effort on activities that create value for customers ” Daniel explains.

One of the improvements he implemented was automating the work order process, in collaboration with the quality manager.

“Each of the 19 different products had 16 pages of instructions that you had to manage separately. By automating the process, we got it down to two documents in total and eliminated a significant amount of manual writing. It’s the little things that make your day easier!”

Daniel Law, Continuous Improvement Lead

While Daniel shared his learnings with the team at East Tamaki, he also picked up new ideas to take home.

Three months on from the secondment, Daniel is back in West Footscray and has implemented an Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) valve connector design – a copy of the East Tamaki version.   

“This design is more robust, makes the job easier and significantly reduces the opportunity for  ingredient loss,” he says.

Daniel says sharing knowledge and standardising processes across sites can benefit all teams.

“Transferring our learnings benefits the company because when you have issues at one site, it’s likely that the solution has been found in another site. I would definitely do a secondment again.”

Daniel Law, Continuous Improvement Lead

Gary Hegarty, GrainCorp’s General Manager of Organisation Development, helps GrainCorp employees identify these opportunities.

“At GrainCorp we encourage everyone to expand their skills and capabilities as part of their own development,” Gary says. 

“Secondments provide a great opportunity to experience new situations and get to know more about the wider business.”

Media enquiries.

Jess Simons

Corporate Affairs & Government Relations Manager

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