Toros Completes the Third Wave of the 6-Sigma Process

The 6-Sigma practices aiming to achieve operational excellence by constantly reviewing the processes within Toros Tarım are making progress at full steam. After the first two “Green Belt” processes completed in 2020 and 2021, the 3rd Wave Green Belt and 1st Wave Black Belt 6-Sigma processes were concluded with the project presentations made to the company management on December 22-23. To date, 55 employees of Toros have received the Green Belt training and nine employees the Black Belt training.

In line with the goal of improving and perfecting Toros Tarım's operations, thus becoming a more efficient, agile, and resilient company, the “Lean” initiative the Company launched in 2017 and the “6-Sigma” project it started in 2020 are progressing seamlessly. 6-Sigma, which paves the way for a culture change by repeatedly reviewing and questioning the existing processes within the company, allows only 3.4 units of error tolerance per 1 million products at the highest level. This methodology mainly focuses on the goals of increasing customer satisfaction, decreasing cycle times, and reducing errors. The system, which uses mathematical and statistical tools to achieve these goals, also enables the improvement of not only production activities, but also all activities carried out by enterprises, and the detection and correction of errors.

6-Sigma, which is a philosophy that should be adopted and understood by employees at all levels, starting from the top management, also provides great benefits to businesses in terms of creating a continuous success, providing a suitable performance target for everyone, and increasing improvement, information exchange, and learning.

Moving on to the Black Belt after the Green Belt Wave

Toros Tarım completed two “Green Belt” processes in 2020 and 2021 within the scope of 6-Sigma process. In 2022, in addition to the 3rd Wave Green Belt process, the 1st Wave Black Belt 6-Sigma process was also initiated. Efforts in this direction were completed with the project presentations made to the company management at the Ceyhan Plant on December 22-23. Toros Tarım’s Lean Production Manager Umut Zorlu stated that a total of 55 employees have received the Green Belt training and nine employees the Black Belt training so far, and shared the following details regarding the matter:

“We started the 6-Sigma project in 2020. For the first two years, our efforts were solely focused on the Green Belt studies. In 2022, we carried out both Green Belt and Black Belt activities. During this period, five Black Belt and 14 Green Belt projects were carried out. Our friends presented their work to the management after a very intense training period, assignments, exams, and project reviews. Thirty of our coworkers who participated in the trainings so far have been awarded the Green Belt certificate while nine of them have been awarded the Black Belt certificate. It is very important that our management provides us with this opportunity, but I think what is more important is that our management was present at the Ceyhan Plant for two days to listen to the works of our coworkers in person. This support was very nice for our coworkers to feel valued in line with our motto "Can't Be Without You".

Umut Zorlu pointed out to the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) metric, which consists of availability, performance, and quality components, and stated that the OEE increased by 39% at Mersin Plant, 35% at Samsun Plant, and 4% at Ceyhan Plant, thanks to lean practices. Zorlu added that the mean time between failures (MTBF) metric improved by four times and the mean time to resolve (MTTR) improved by about 10%.

Hakan Göral: “As Our Gains Increased, Our Affection Grew.”

Hakan Göral, CEO of Toros Tarım Agri-Industry Group, said that each accomplishment attained through the Lean and 6-Sigma practices encouraged them even more. Reminding that they started their Lean journey about six years ago, Göral stated that the initial opinions that the Lean approach, which then was widely used in the automotive industry, was not suitable for the fertilizer industry, has changed over time. Göral said, “This is a discipline. As we continuously made small improvements and had gains, we embraced it more with our growing affection. At the beginning of the process, we had decided to implement Lean practices first at our facilities, and then to switch from Lean Production to Lean Management. The operational excellence in Lean Manufacturing and the Environmental-Occupational Health-Safety concept are actually combined at the top in a common governance model. Everything is interlocked with our employees and with what they do.”

“We possess a unique tool, 6-Sigma, at our disposal to increase our competitiveness!”

Stating that Toros Tarım has made great progress with 6-Sigma practices, Hakan Göral further said, “Our first efforts were more like Kaizen projects. But in our projects this year, we have seen that 6-Sigma and statistical tools are used extensively. The fertilizer industry is a challenging industry and the competition is ever increasing. In this difficult environment, we need to increase our competitiveness. For this, we possess a unique tool like 6-Sigma. And of course, most importantly, we have our employees. What I liked most was the motivation of our coworkers who presented their projects. I was delighted to see that the quality of the projects and the expertise of my colleagues on the subject increased when compared to the previous waves. It is essential that we act as a team that speaks the same language with a certain discipline in solving problems and improving processes. From now on, it will be our main goal to disseminate the process to more people. I would like to express my gratitude to all my colleagues who contributed to this process.”