Problem solving for excellence at the 2021 AME Conference

Experienced passports machine managers and operators collaborating with process engineers and mechanical specialists, are building and commissioning a new production line for Australia’s R series passport. Image credit: Note Printing Australia

One of AME’s founding members and Note Printing Australia Head of Business Excellence, Peter Ballas, shares his insights on the benefits of implementing Continuous Improvement.

How do you create an organisation of problem solvers?

This is the main theme that will be discussed at AME Australia Conference next month, which will feature a panel of speakers highly experience in operational excellence.

The panel will feature international speaker Steve Craig, managing director of Komori UK, Seamus Power, a business transformation advisor with Whitewater Transformations and partner at LP Partners, Errol Benvie of Wisdom Lab, and AME Australia president Barry McCarthy.

The virtual conference, which will be held from May 17-21, will bring together like-minded people to network and learn from operational excellence professionals.

Head of Business Excellence at Note Printing Australia (NPA) Peter Ballas, who was also a founding committee member of AME Australia, said like all organisations who are on a Continuous Improvement streak, there is “so much more to do”.

There will be three presentations by Note Printing Australia at this year’s conference.

“NPA has been on a Business Excellence journey for the past three years, with the key driver being the introduction and launch of the new Banknote series,” Ballas said.

“It significantly modernised and complicated our manufacturing process, so we had to drive a people centric transformation process, that we called Business Excellence, to engage as many of our team members in the journey.”

“The AME logo is ‘share, learn, grow’ and I truly believe in this,” he said.

“My participation with the AME began with networking, seeing and benchmarking what others are doing. However, the pot of gold is in the sharing this is where the real development and improvement occurs.”

Ballas said the AME Conference is for participants of all levels of experience, who may be at the beginning, or well on the way into a transformational journey to achieve organisational change, can benefit from attending the conference.

“Having the privilege of attending the international conference several times, as well as the Australian conference, the value is in the networking,” he said.

Ballas said he still draws upon an extensive network of contacts, from exchanging emails through to site visits with other manufacturers to discuss current challenges and showcase company initiatives.

He has noticed that since the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have shifted towards a people centric approach to implementing Business Excellence and CI. But, a traditional tool-based approach still has a stronghold on methods used.

“6 Sigma is widespread, with experts driving project-based CI in what one may call discontinuous improvement,” Ballas said.

The 2021 conference will focus on the theme of problem solving, and Ballas believes the theme and content will provide an antidote to organisational maladies faced by many Australian and global businesses.

“Edgar Shein put it well when he stated ‘leaders should not focus on cultural change, but they need to focus on solving business problems’,” Ballas said. “If you solve problems, you impact the company culture in a positive way.”

For more information about the AME Conference 2021 and to register please visit