UAE aluminium giant saves millions from staff inventions

Emirates Global Aluminium invited employees to devise cost-saving measures
By Sarah Townsend
Mon 17 Jul 2017 12:51 PM

The UAE’s state-run aluminium company said it has saved AED17 million ($4.6 million) in a pioneering scheme asking its staff to propose cost-cutting measures.

The savings have been achieved since the start of this year, Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) said.

EGA employees have made more than 18,000 suggestions for operational and technical improvements that would help the company save money.

The scheme is based on the premise that employees at EGA’s plants – and within other divisions – are better placed to spot wastage and weakness in operational processes than senior management, although the scheme is open to everyone.

Ideas range from simple work process improvements to ingenious technical fixes. The best idea in 2016 was a machine to separate small pieces of aluminium coke by size, EGA said.

A team of operators conceived, designed and built a small machine to perform this task, which was previously done by hand.

EGA said its employee suggestion scheme, which has been running since 1981, is an important factor in the company’s competitiveness in the global aluminium industry.

EGA managing director and CEO Abdulla Kalban said: “EGA has operated an employee suggestion scheme for over 35 years, and it engages everyone to think constantly how we can do things better.

“We believe that often it is people closest to a problem that can both spot it and work out the best solution. In a competitive industry like ours, we have to improve every day.”

Staff receive a proportion of the savings generated by their ideas that are implemented and go on to achieve efficiencies.

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