No matter how good a person is at a skill or sport, there’s always opportunity to be better.
Same is true in business. Each new day brings new challenges. Maintaining an ongoing effort to turn those challenges into opportunities to improve products, services or processes is continuous improvement. You simply have to know what you’re working toward and be open to innovative ideas.
Basin Electric has always operated this way, but in the last year, it’s become a priority.
The challenging commodity prices and mild weather have put significant pressure on the cooperative’s bottom line. That has added to the need to be focused on those areas where the cooperative can have the greatest financial impact for the benefit of its members.
Continuous improvement (CI) is a culture, a mindset. It’s ensuring every employee knows they play a role in the cooperative’s mission to provide the lowest possible cost electricity for its members with the highest quality service.
The July-August 2016 issue of Basin Today features a story about the logistics continuous improvement team focusing on transportation wins.
When the logistics CIT was starting to take shape, the initial focus was logistics by rail.
However, what began as a charge to improve rail transportation of materials grew to include logistical information, processes and efficiencies surrounding transportation in all capacities.
Logistics continuous improvement team wins thus far
- Increase use of in-house Basin Electric procurement logistics, skipping the third-party middle man and the cost that goes along with it. This includes developing a streamlined and consistent process for individuals to complete a shipping request for equipment transportation.
- Demurrage (which is a fee for coal/lime/limestone/chemical railcars sitting at a site for too long) reduction strategies.
- Potentially use the Basin Electric-owned 8-mile track for heavier railcars, thus drastically reducing the freight cost per pound/gallon.
- Rail freight negotiations (consolidated chemical, lime and limestone freight negotiations to one person).
- Consolidation of railcar fleet between Basin Electric facilities.