ILO SCORE Training

Innovation in action: A Chinese infrastructure company’s journey towards productivity growth and decent work

This company leveraged SCORE Training to reshape their operations to enhance safety and service quality, and foster a continuous cycle of improvement to boost competitiveness and growth.

Article | 19 February 2024
With the objective of driving cooperative working relationships, service quality, and safety and health practices in the workplace, Zhejiang Haining Rail Transit Operation Management co. Ltd implemented ILO SCORE Training in July 2022 to benefit its workforce of 1,500 people across six functional departments and six production centers . Throughout one year of practical classroom training and in-factory consulting in “Workplace Cooperation” and “Safety and Health at Work” modules, they set up an Enterprise Improvement Team (EIT) to put in place a joint problem-solving mechanism.

Here are just three of the 1,685 Enterprise Improvement Projects (EIPs) they completed in the first year, of which 1,460 were proposed by frontline employees.

1. Tackling safety and health challenges with swift solutions

The Hangzhou-Haininig Intercity Railway has 12 stations, of which eight are elevated stations. During rainy and windy weather, the small platforms at the elevated stations would become slippery. As a result, drivers were required to step out of the train to ensure the safety of passengers during boarding and alighting. To address this, the EIT led by the chief engineer developed a feasibility plan, which incorporated workers’ suggestions to install rain shelters and lay down anti-slip mats within ten days.

These easy-to-implement and cost-effective measures improved platform operational efficiency and service quality for passengers, alongside eliminating safety risks for both staff members and passengers.

After installing rain shelters and anti-slip mats at the elevated stations, we no longer need to worry excessively about slippery floors on rainy or snowy days. I didn't expect my suggestion to the EIT to be implemented so quickly.

Jin Jiahui, An electric bus driver

2. Enhancing quality assurance through innovative tools to measure defects

A wheel tread is a component directly in contact with steel rail, often leaving scratches. Upon receiving feedback from the frontline maintenance personnel that measurement of the depth of these scratches was difficult, the EIT established an 'Overcoming Difficulties Team'. They decided to use the side surface and flange of an unworn wheel as a reference, and slide the measurement gauge along this reference. This new probe now measures dimensional changes from the normal tread surface to scratched tread surface, and back to the normal tread surface. By inventing this wheel tread scratch depth measurement gauge based on the principle of accurate comparison, the company can now measure tread defects with high precision.

Thanks to this innovative tool, manual efficiency increased five-fold, saving 15,000 yuan (USD 2,086) per year in labour costs, and reducing the company's procurement of expensive locomotive parts, such as wheelsets by 350,000 yuan (USD 48,665) per year.

3. Redefining company practices to maximize efficiency

Regular maintenance of rail tracks is crucial for safe urban rail transit. This involves adjustments and replacements, which typically requires the use of short rails of 4-6 meters. Due to limited space in the track area, large-scale machinery cannot be used for transportation. Instead, 8-10 people were required to use tongs for lifting.

To identify ways to reduce manual labour and advance efficiency, the EIT collaborated with 'Li Zhiqiang Skills Master Workshop' – a skilled personnel training platform established by the company to put together a research and development team. Through regular EIT meetings, the team also collected feedback and suggestions from frontline workers and analyzed the existing transport mechanism. As a result, the team came up with a solution to use the lever principle to lift the rail, which could then be transported by installing travelling wheels. This requires a rail mover developed by technicians and operated by two workers at a low production cost of only 9,000 yuan (USD 1,251). This new rail mover is easy and safe to operate, yielding consistent and stable results. It is also being used as an auxiliary tool in certain areas of construction sites where the operation of large cranes is not feasible.

Unlocking success with worker-management collaboration

ILO SCORE Training's achievements in Zhejiang Haining lie in the establishment of an effective management mechanism, which has played a vital role in promoting active participation and supervision of employees across different teams. Emphasis on fostering an environment of mutual respect and trust between frontline workers and functional managers has not only contributed to optimized safety production management and improved workplace cooperation, but also enhanced the company’s corporate image. Moreover, it has led to a significant reduction in production costs, marking crucial milestones on the path to increased competitiveness and productivity.

Zhejiang Haining Rail Transit Operation Management co. Ltd (Zhejiang Haining) operates services of Hangzhou-Haining Intercity Rail, which connects the cities of Hangzhou and Haining in Zhejiang, China.

ILO SCORE Training improves productivity and working conditions in SMEs by combining practical classroom training with in-factory consulting. SCORE Training in China is implemented by SCORE Academy.