Striving to be a sustainable business means:

  • protecting our environment,
  • managing our economic prosperity, and
  • acting for the social good to benefit our present and future stakeholders.
At Concentric, these three elements are important considerations when devising our long and short term strategy and Concentric Business Excellence plays a critical part in attaining our sustainability goal. In this article, we interview Jerry Rumple, Continuous Improvement Manager at Rockford who explains how we have achieved an enviable level of business excellence at Concentric Rockford.
Interview with Jerry Rumple, Continuous Improvement Manager, Concentric Rockford

Jerry, you play a key role in facilitating Concentric Business Excellence, what does your role entail?
“I have been with the Rockford organisation in its different guises for almost 25 years, first with JSB, then Haldex, Haldex-Barnes and now as Concentric Rockford. My primary responsibilities are to lead improvement processes and activities across the Rockford business and at other locations, if and when required. My role includes leading and mentoring 6 Sigma projects, facilitating key customer reviews, coordinating and participating in Kaizen events, analysing and facilitating improvements for customer and employee survey processes, coordinating the Wellness program, as well as sitting on our Safety Steering Committee.”

You recently coordinated a very successful application on behalf of Rockford to be considered for the prestigious Baldrige/ILPEx Award – receiving ILPEx Silver Award for Progress Toward Excellence from this rigorous assessment. Can you tell us a little more about this?
“The Illinois Performance Excellence (ILPEx) Recognition Programme leverages the Baldrige Excellence Framework to guide organisations to reach higher levels of performance. The Concentric Business Excellence model has its foundations in the Baldrige and EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) Excellence Models. These frameworks are validated, leading edge models for leadership and help to drive improvement and innovation where it is needed most. ILPEx annually recognises organisations for their continuous improvement accomplishments. The ILPEx Award categories – bronze, silver and gold – reflect the increasing maturity of an organisation’s business management system and how well it is aligned with business needs. Achieving the ILPEx Silver Award for Progress Toward Excellence demonstrates that we have fully embraced an effective and systematic approach to business excellence and we have been able to show evidence of successfully deploying the model across all functions of the organisation.”

Why do you feel so passionately about participating in the external ILPEx assessment?
“The ILPEx accreditation requires a thorough and detailed assessment of our performance in the areas of:

  • Leadership;
  • Strategy;
  • Customers;
  • Measurement, Analysis and Knowledge Management;
  • Workforce;
  • Operations and
  • Results (such as customer quality, On Time Delivery (OTD), satisfaction/engagement, operational performance measures of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), first time pass, employee healthcare costs, as well as financial results).

Using a strict scoring system, a team of 8–12 examiners independently reviewed and evaluated our written application for performance and improvement against external benchmarks and best practice standards. Their key findings included an assessment of Rockford’s strengths and opportunities. Our application was strong enough to qualify for the next stage which was a rigorous site audit lasting 4 days. The 8 on-site examiners interviewed 124 employees and reviewed hundreds of documents and data to clarify and verify information provided in our application, including the extent to which we deploy and integrate our management systems. They also sought proof that we proactively and systematically review, evaluate and improve our systems and processes.

A detailed Feedback Report was prepared by the Examining team which was reviewed by a Panel of Judges to ensure consistent calibration in scoring and application of the ILPEx criteria. The Judges hold several meetings to review all applicant Feedback Reports and to determine the appropriate level of recognition based on the profile of strengths and opportunities for improvement reported. After such a thorough process, it will not surprise you to learn that the Feedback Report is incredibly valuable for us and it helps to inform future improvement planning.

Jerry Rumple
Jerry Rumple

Also, telling yourself and others you’re doing a good job is never as persuasive as someone else who knows what they’re talking about telling you. Accredited certification through ILPex indisputably demonstrates our compliance with the standard. It gives customers and other stakeholders greater assurance about our competence and commitment to continuous improvement.”

How does this award benefit our stakeholders?
“It’s not about the award but more about the journey. Any time we can continuously evaluate and improve our approaches to how we lead, strategize, listen to our customers and employees to satisfy and engage them, and improve our operations will lead to improved results in which we all benefit. The ILPEx Silver Award for Progress Toward Excellence shows that we are differentiating ourselves from our competition through our pursuit of business excellence.”

What do you see as the challenges ahead for continued improvement?
“The biggest challenge moving forward is sustained improvement in all areas, innovation, and integration. Everything starts with Leadership and Strategy. Our approaches must remain aligned and integrated with our defined organisational needs, as determined by our strategy. We must continue to systematically evaluate and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of all of our key approaches based on facts and data. I am reassured that all results reported showed beneficial levels and trends in the areas that are important to accomplishing our mission, and we showed levels of performance relative to comparisons that demonstrate Rockford is an industry leader and can be considered a role model. It is always a challenge to raise the bar but I am confident that we have the commitment and drive, the people and skills, and the systems and processes to deliver further success.”

How does the Concentric Business Excellence model support our goal for sustainable working practices?
“That’s easy! Environment: our Environmental Management System (EMS) is continually evaluated and improved such that our products and operations positively impact our customers, suppliers, employees, and community. Social: we continually evaluate and improve our key approaches when it comes to employee health, safety, accessibility, and security. Economic: one of the main criteria we apply to any process improvement activity is that it must deliver improved results and align with our financial goals. You can’t have good processes and process results without showing good levels and sustained trends in key financial results.

Concentric Business Excellence, through the principles of the Baldrige and EFQM models, provides the framework to look to the future and think what does the future look like? And if that’s what the future looks like, what are the attributes we have to have to succeed in that future? It guides us not to focus on our markets today; instead it guides us to be focused on the future. What markets are out there and what part we can play in them? Concentric Business Excellence encourages the creation of sustainable working practices which lead to business success.”