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Partnership successes in Egypt: Pilot results show enterprise improvements on all fronts

The results of the SCORE Training pilot programme in collaboration with the Egyptian Federation of Industries (FEI) show an average satisfaction rate of 90 per cent and significant productivity gains. Companies have not only shown their willingness to improve their productivity and working conditions but also to take advantage of the flexibility of the five modules of SCORE Training.

Article | 30 January 2020
Implemented in Egypt in 2018 on a pilot basis, the SCORE programme has assisted 30 enterprises get a more cooperative and safer workplace. The vast majority of the enterprises trained show full satisfaction with the training provided. The lessons learned from the pilot and the active participation of attendees allowed enterprises to make significant improvements. Indeed, 90 per cent of participating enterprises reported cost savings and 80 per cent noticed a reduction in workers complaints. In addition, more than half of the companies saw an increase in their productivity and decrease in labour turnover.

SCORE Training has shown to be a real success in Egypt as almost all companies took part in more than one module. SCORE Training is designed to help enterprises become more productive through a mandatory first module named “Workplace Cooperation: The foundation for Business Success”. Then, it offers the possibility to follow other modules on OSH, Quality, HR Management and Cleaner Production, in order to improve working conditions and solve internal issues.

The entry point module lays the foundation for an engaged and unified workforce, as Doaa Mohamed Kamel Hassan, Operation Manager at Plastic Industries Co., points out stating that “through the first module, we knew about the company’s staff needs by opening a communication channel between us and them which led to improving work environment and relationships between the people”.

The following four success stories demonstrate the benefits they have gained from the four subsequent modules.

Fuel is their Business, Occupational Safety and Health too
SHM Industries Co. is a manufacturer for fuel station tanks. As the engineering industry generally involves occupational safety and health issues, the enterprise decided to take part in the “Safety and Health at Work: A platform for productivity” module. Since completing the module, SHM Industries conducts risk assessments, provides all workers with protective equipment (free of charge) where risks can not be completely eliminated, and has developed a material safety data sheet for all the chemicals used in the factory. All these improvements have enabled Khaled Youssef, Head of Industrial, Environmental, and Occupational Safety, to face the major challenge of reducing the number of accidents. Before SCORE Training, SHM Industries did not have an OSH policy, nor a workers-managers OSH committee, the module helped the company introduce these essentials, and thus, significantly reduced the number of injuries in the workplace.

These improvements not only led to a lower rate of incidents and injuries but also increased the motivation of workers. Khaled Youssef explains that workspaces have been re-organised and optimised, 60 per cent of workspace occupation is saved thanks to the 5S application. Safety barriers now surround hazardous machines, and a new organisation for tools and equipment decreases the probability of errors while also saving time. Finally, safety instructions signboards are displayed around the factory to guide the handling of chemicals, ensure personal safety, and deal with fire risks.
“As a result of the application of the 5S system, the work environment is becoming more and organized, which has resulted in a lower rate of incidents and injuries. This was reflected in the safety evaluation, which was very poor before the training and significantly increased after the training. It is worth to mention that this was immediately reflected in the delivery rates and client satisfaction, as the lower incidents rate reduced disruptions to the production cycle.”
Khaled Youssef, Head of Industrial, Environmental, and Occupational Safety, SHM Industries

Khaled Youssef acknowledges that the training not only taught the staff lessons on OSH but also improved communication and receptiveness of employees who are now eager to apply new ideas and approaches to their work practices.

Improved motivation shows significant effects on performance
Al Safa Craft Wire Co., decided to undertake human resources management improvements through the module on “Workforce Management for Cooperation and Business Success”. The enterprise, specialises in the production of chiller shelves, and was suffering from a high labour turnover. SCORE Training helped workers and managers to implement the ideas they had to staunch this phenomenon. One of the main issues was lack of human resources responsibility which led to problems in communication between managers and workers.
“Before SCORE Training we were constantly facing problems, like most factories, that resulted in either dismissal or resignation of workers. We had some ideas on how to solve these problems, but we did not know how to apply them effectively”
Mohamed El-Sayed, CEO, Al Safa Craft Wire Co.

With the help of SCORE Training, Al Safa has succeeded in improving its workforce management. First, management has introduced a transparent and clear system for assessing workers’ performance and linked it with a scheme of incentives and bonuses. In addition, management set up a system for receiving all complaints and suggestions. These improvements have made communication more effective and employees are more motivated when they see that their ideas are considered in a systematic manner. Moreover, simple improvements in workers’ welfare facilities, such as new toilets, a locker room and a break area, have all had great effects on working conditions and worker morale.
“The evaluation system has ignited workers’ motivation to succeed and, at the same time, created a healthy sense of competition among all workers. They have been doing their best to improve their performance, commit to respecting attendance hours, and reduce absenteeism. Workers are striving to become better at their jobs, and everyone is getting a better monthly evaluation, and are happy with the monetary rewards, as well as the recognition from management.”
Mohamed El-Sayed, CEO, Al Safa Craft Wire Co.

The results were impressive. The CEO says that labour retention increased to 85 per cent after the implementation of the new management tools. Attitudinal changes clearly benefit the enterprise as workers are less absent, and production rates have increased by 70 per cent - mostly put down to increased motivation by workers to obtain better evaluations.

A common vision of quality: A continuous need for communication
ADM Chemical Industries (Shabana Group Co.), painting and decorating tools manufacturer, has found solutions to its ineffective communication by drawing inspiration from the module on “Quality: Managing Continuous Improvement”. Before SCORE Training, workers did not have common quality standards, nor a common language, and to the management they seemed unwilling to change their processes. SCORE Training raised the workers and managers’ awareness of the benefits of creating an environment where everyone works for the good of the company, rather than as individuals. Progressively, the gap between workers and managers narrowed until they were able to agree on production quality priorities.

Step by step, management stimulated worker motivation by improving worker welfare facilities. New filters were installed to purify drinking water, the cleanliness of women’s toilets was enhanced and a ventilation fan was added in break areas. The increased communication has not only led to improved quality but also sparked off improvements in HR management and OSH too.
New Water Filer System in place for staff drinking water

Following SCORE Training, management began to organise regular meetings between managers and workers, and formed a committee to receive suggestions and complaints. The increased sharing of information on quality issues benefited the company's productivity. In addition, to improve its ability to meet customer needs, the company has decided to reduce its product portfolio to ensure better quality across its offering.

Starting with the need to improve communication on quality standards, to enhance customer satisfaction and reduce waste, the enterprise has improved many aspects of HR management and cleaner production too. Improvements in communication have worked so well that one worker even said that the training has trickled into his personal life – positively affecting his relationships with his family:
“After the programme, my relationship with my older brother improved and I accepted his advice and his words to the extent that we became friends and not only brothers. The programme helped me to improve my relationship with others, not only at work but also at home.”
Taha Abdel Aziz, Production Worker, ADM Chemicals

Cleaner production to the benefit of workers, customers and managers
Nassar Pipe and Plastic Factories, producer of PVC pipes, chose the additional module on “Productivity through Cleaner Production” to make improvements and remedy the lack of motivation amongst staff. Despite the good relationship between workers and managers, it was difficult to implement change.

SCORE Training helped the enterprise reduce materials usage and energy consumption, and properly monitor resources used. For example, the enterprise took advantage of the factory’s location in a desert area and the abundance of direct sunlight to reduce its electricity consumption. The roof was cleaned the roof and roof windows added to allow daylight to enter in the workspace. The manager, Sameh Yousef, commented that despite the small cost that this change represents, the enterprise has been able to allocate savings to other activities and facilities that benefit workers.

Nassar Pipe and Plastic Factories has made many other improvements. Step by step, the enterprise has made its factory cleaner and improved HR management. For instance, the entrance to the factory was cleaned, better maintenance of workers’ lockers was implemented, and a suggestions box for workers was introduced. The enterprise now also has a scheduled a bi-weekly meeting with workers to discuss their suggestions, complaints, and grievances, in order to ensure prompt and effective communication, celebrating new ideas together.

Improved factory organisation after SCORE Training 

Through these and other changes morale has improved considerably, an internal survey revealed that these changes increased worker satisfaction to over 90 per cent. Improved workplace cooperation and cleaner production have also helped the enterprise save money and increase its productivity. Inspired by the 5S methodology, the warehouse and manufacturing spaces have been optimised. The time saved in the search for tools and materials instantly increased productivity by 18 per cent.

Conclusion: a contribution to sustainability in Egypt

The pilot results speak for themselves. In Egypt’s engineering and chemical sectors, SCORE Training has supported improvements beyond only productivity increase. Workforce management, occupational safety and health, quality improvement and cleaner production have all benefited SMEs profit, sustainability and working conditions. Indeed, the vast majority of the enterprises trained made significant gains in workplace cooperation. The majority of the 30 companies that participated in the SCORE Training have achieved cost savings, reduced the number of worker complaints and reduced the number of defects.

The SCORE programme is therefore perfectly in line with the priorities of the Egyptian government and with Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy 2030, which emphasises the importance of SME development. The real success of the programme in Egypt has aroused great interest from national organisations, namely the MSMEs Development Agency, Technology centres relevant to the Ministry of Industry, and the Industrial Development Agency managing the industrial zones in Egypt, to extend such programmes to other sectors as well as to other geographical areas

The Pilot implementation for 30 companies, in cooperation with the Federation of Egyptian Industries, has contributed to designing a business model for the provision of the SCORE Training. It is now a matter of focusing on programme sustainability through the institutionalization of SCORE in partner organizations, and scaling up implementation to a wider range of manufacturing and service sectors. This will be achievable and scalable if SCORE becomes part of the regular service portfolio of large national institutions/training providers. This can be feasible through a Development Cooperation Project to support these institutions in the implementation and to internalise the programme within their services. This is currently being carried out through four components:
  1. Capacity development of national implementation partners to adopt and deliver SCORE Training services to ensure the institutionalization and sustainability of the intervention;
  2. Subsidizing and implementing the first module of SCORE Training in a number of companies in sectors identified according to programme criteria, while creating demand for the other modules to be delivered for a fee;
  3. Creating effective communication and marketing strategies to support implementing partners in bridging the gap with SMEs;
  4. Support national institutions in designing financial products for enterprises to finance improvement plans.