Over the past five years, Komatsu’s Gladstone branch has implemented Komatsu group’s feel safety program as a way of increasing safety standards and awareness for staff, customers and others.
Feel Safety is a program under Komatsu Group's KOMATSU Way, based on the "5S's" system, which promotes the safety, efficiency and productivity benefits of a clean, properly laid-out workplace, with everything properly kept in its rightful (and logical) place.
For the Gladstone team, the Feel Safe program can be defined as
the "enhancement of the physical environment and workplace culture so that a feeling of inherent safety is experienced by employees and visitors".
At Gladstone, this program has been applied to not only the workshop and service areas, but also our managers' and administration offices and even our reception area.
We work on the principle of there being a place for everything, with everything in its place. That means that everyone at the Gladstone branch, no matter what their job function, knows where items are kept, and where they should go.
This applies equally to signage, communications documents,
paperwork, safety records, brochures and the like, through to
tradespeople's tools and equipment, as well as the various consumables items they use every day.
As part of the program, we identify the root cause of what we call
"poor housekeeping" and then address the human and physical
reasons for this.
Improvements in design and methods have created an
environment where waste is reduced and is conducive to
employees performing at their best.
Today the workplace culture at Gladstone is one of communicating clearly what is expected and developing a sense of pride in our high standards of professionalism
We also believe in leading by example; for example the
supervisor's office is expected to convey the same sense of
organisation and professionalism that the workshop does.
We have linked housekeeping and professionalism to safety and
family, all the while encouraging input from our staff, and
We back this up through regular and consistent inspections, which we try to keep some what informal as they are not only to check for compliance to our expected standards but to recognise where employees are demonstrating appropriate practice as discuss as a group how we can improve our workplace.
My interest in this concept goes back to my earliest days in the
mining and related industry sectors.
When I started with Komatsu as a workshop diesel fitter in Townsville branch in 2001, I was 30 years old and had worked several years as a tradesman including and some experience running workshops. I had previously also worked underground and in very remote locations and for various companies.
I knew first-hand how the speed and quality of work I was able to produce was greatly affected by the way the workplace was set out and how accessible the necessary items were.
When I took on the position of Service Manager at Komatsu's Gladstone Branch in 2007, I was grateful for what I saw as an opportunity to make a difference to my fellow tradespeople, allowing them to produce the quality work that is essential for the job satisfaction of a skilled tradesperson.
I became aware of the KOMATSU Way through the Feel Safety program, and this reaffirmed to me that I was definitely with the right company; for me it was all about being professional and well organised and taking pride in what we do.
Feel Safety implementation was successful and our commitment
to the 5'S principals continues.
We have observed many business improvements as a direct result.
Today, I am very proud of the Gladstone team and the way in
which they have all embraced the KOMATSU Way and our Customer Support Charter.
I often observe members of my team quoting statements from the
Customer Support Charter when discussing internally what we need to do for our customers.
I have certainly seen the team become more and more engaged
with the KOMATSU Way as they experience the benefits of the
Feel Safety/5S's program and the processes we have developed in
order to deliver on our Customer Support Charter.
Many of us have had the experience where the tractor on
the job site that looks to be in poor condition is treated with less care by the operator.
For me it is exactly the same for the business and the workplace.
When there is a system and a well-organised workplace, people
naturally tend to produce work to a higher standard, have a betterday at work and deliver a better experience to their customers.