Lean tools for quality management - the key to optimisation
TextMinded Danmark has collaborated with FORCE Technology in an endeavour to achieve a higher level of quality management.
Up until 2012, Oversætterhuset A/S was based in Aarhus with branches in Copenhagen and Kolding and almost 35 full-time staff, plus several hundred freelance translators on its books. In 2012, Oversætterhuset A/S merged with EICOM to become TextMinded Danmark. The company now has a staff of around 50 with branches in Aarhus, Copenhagen and Vejle plus overseas offices.
Both the former Oversætterhuset A/S and the current TextMinded Danmark have collaborated with FORCE Technology in an endeavour to achieve a higher level of quality management.
The former Oversætterhuset A/S delivered a wide range of linguistic services, including translation, proofreading, copywriting, language tuition, interpretation, language technologies and DTP. The company focused primarily on quality and delivery guarantee, which means specifically that there are always people behind the specialised technological processes. Technology and intellectual skills ensure care and professionalism at all levels and in all workflows.
Through course participation and coaching with FORCE Technology, Oversætterhuset A/S kick-started the process, the goal of which was to build up a quality management system and subsequent ISO certification. Prior to this, all business procedures were optimised with the aid of lean tools.
Positive growth required managing workflow
When Oversætterhuset contacted FORCE Technology, the company had seen steady growth since its establishment 20 years earlier, and this placed large demands on the management of the many processes connected with the completion of its tasks. This included many processes connected with the quality management of the work itself, document management and the traceability and history of the documents. The demands increased in line with the introduction of the technological opportunities used in the sector, where linguistic communication was still increasingly a question of integrated approaches.
According to Britta Aagaard, the challenge at that time was that prices on the market had dropped, which meant finding a smarter way to get tasks done - “which is why we needed to reconcile the many processes with each other and ensure a greater degree of knowledge sharing”.
“We chose to introduce a quality management system in accordance with ISO 9001 and the industry-specific standard DS/EN 15038. The goal was certification. So we contacted the consultants from FORCE Technology, who advised us to optimise our business approaches by using lean tools before we got started on building up procedures and instructions in a quality management system.”
A course in integrated value stream mapping of the company
“We decided to send a couple of our talented project managers on a course about lean management in practice at FORCE Technology,” recalls Britta Aagaard. “The course was designed so that we could perform value stream mapping of our own company, which was really good. Partly because we established a ballast around lean tools and what they can be used for, and partly because we delved deep into our own company and began implementing initiatives that could optimise our processes.”
“We have great interest in ensuring that all our employees are made aware of our processes, so that we can run a profitable company that delivers quality each time. This means that all employees are involved in the lean management process and that we are successful in creating a lean culture. It is quite simply a prerequisite for success that all the staff feel involved and are committed,” says Britta Aagaard.
The final phases in the establishment of a quality management system
Oversætterhuset continued the work of establishing a quality management system with the final certification as its ultimate goal.
“We have chosen to use a consultant from FORCE Technology as a sounding board in connection with the establishment and implementation of our quality management system,” says Britta Aagaard. “We do not have these skills in-house, and it is hard to find the right focus. The consultant has taught us to take it one step at a time – starting with the most important.”
Among the first translation companies with ISO 9001 certification
“We have been really pleased with the collaboration with the consultants from FORCE Technology. They have taught us to structure the work and make it clear and given us invaluable input. Now everyone thinks about getting rid of superficial measures and focusing on what makes sense – and that strengthens our competitive position,” concludes Britta Aagaard.
After the merger between Oversætterhuset A/S and EICOM, TextMinded Danmark subsequently opted to collaborate with FORCE Technology on the preliminary phase of its ISO 9001 and EN 15038 certification and can boast proudly of being one of the very first certified translation companies in Denmark.