Like other Nokia units, Nokia Mobile Phones has an environmental management system (EMS) in place at each of its nine production sites around the world. As the sites are located in different countries, in the past this has meant nine different ISO 14001-certified systems.
In order to harmonize the systems, share best practices, and avoid non-conformities, regional EMS representatives from around the globe started working together intensively at the beginning of 2002, with the eventual goal of building a single EMS for all Nokia Mobile Phones production sites.
Continuous Development Based on Priorities
The first step is benchmarking to collect best practices and share them with all participants so that they can improve their existing practices or adopt new practices if needed.
This work was supported by environmental specialist Hanna Pitkänen, who brought useful tools to the project. "We began the work by asking EMS representatives to write a story about their most significant achievements with the systems. We got plenty of stories and chose a few as the basis of our continuing work."
The topics selected for the first phase are communications and training, monitoring and measurements, EMS objectives and targets, and emergency preparedness. "The idea is to start with communications and training and monitoring and measurements, and then continue with the next two topics, and so on", says Hanna. "We want this to be continuous improvement work at NMP."
Local Regulations Demand a Flexible System
To meet the first goal, unified communications, every NMP production site built its own environmental intranet site or improved the existing one.
The next task came when Beijing joint ventures delivered its monitoring and measurement documents, which the other teams modified for their needs. "Audited documents are a good way to share best practices, since we can avoid inventing the wheel again. Local characteristics in processes work as signals for other regions, and also deliver new ideas", says Hanna.
So while the documented procedures help to maintain systems and share knowledge, they cannot always be adopted as is in all regions. "It is very important to check local legal requirements and processes," reminds Hanna. And of course translating the documents into and from local languages can be a surprisingly time-consuming task.
"However, everybody has had a very positive attitude about this project. We have gotten to know each other and exchanged a lot of information", tells Hanna. "In addition, the workload of the core team members was kept to a minimum because they used only existing tools."
Next Step: Implementation
By the end of 2002 many processes were improved, the global guidelines were finished, and the challenge now is implementing them. To develop the guidelines further, new cases will be chosen. In the future, intensifying EMS cooperation with Nokia's other business groups could bring exciting new dimensions to this development work.