KAIZEN™: the Natural Decision – CIECH’s young but strong relationship with Kaizen Institute


Although in the early stages of their KAIZEN™ journey, CIECH is very passionate about their work with Kaizen Institute Poland.

Wojciech Smardz, Director of Operational Excellence and Supply Chain of CIECH, shares CIECH’s KAIZEN™ implementation progress and his personal experience with KAIZEN™ with Robin Cox, Kaizen Institute, Ltd.

In this first article of a trilogy, learn how CIECH started their KAIZEN™ journey with Kaizen Institute Poland.

About CIECH: Vision & Ambition

CIECH is an international chemical group with a strong position in European and global markets. They build a future-proof and modern chemical holding, that generates value for its stakeholders.

Build future-proof business

An individual strategic approach to every business.

Develop as a modern chemical company

Strategic ambitions, innovations built on three pillars, and engaging, performance-based culture.

Optimize value for stakeholders

CIECH has a clear value proposition for clients and investors.

How did you first hear about KAIZEN™?

I first heard of KAIZEN™ at the Congress of Kaizen Institute Poland. I had the opportunity to hear about this Congress when I was working at my previous company. At CIECH, we are trying to find the best way to improve the company, so it was natural that we looked for the best solution for us. We decided to work with Kaizen Institute Poland, conducted the pilot, which was very good, and decided to move on with the next steps.

How long have you been working with Kaizen Institute Poland?

I personally have several years of experience with Kaizen Institute Poland. I cooperated with them in 2017 at my previous company, and the experience was very good. For me, it was very natural to start a new journey with Kaizen Institute Poland at CIECH and invite them to cooperate and help us build a new culture.

What circumstances led you to start using KAIZEN™?

In May 2022, CIECH published a new strategy that would last from 2022 to 2024. There are two points that are as important to us as operational excellence. The first one is increasing the safety of our people; creating a workplace that is safe for us and our employees. The second one is increasing our efficiency on an operational level. These are the two points that are the foundation of building this action plan.

What are the most important aspects of your organization?

We have a few methods of working. The first one is Continuous Improvement practices. This includes organization in teams, operational reviews, and communication in teams and between teams. The second is 5S related to the workplace. The third one is problem-solving and learning how to build competencies in problem-solving aspects and adding the specific tools application which can support the process. The fourth one is related to work standardization. CIECH has six production sites in Poland and three outside of Poland (in Germany and Romania), so the standardization system is very important for us.

The next one is value stream analysis because we see that we have room for improvement in some of our factories. We’re looking to increase efficiency in production, logistics, and maintenance. Currently, activities are carried out in two of our production locations. Together with our employees, we have identified 16 initiatives that have transformed into projects. Each project has a leader, goals, and a schedule of actions. We are already seeing the effects of these actions.

Interested in learning what’s important for CIECH when working with Kaizen Institute Poland? Stay tuned for the next post!

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