Hamuka Coordinator Laban Oyende: "Our value adders drive our business."
The world of job ownership and continuous improvement
We often talk about how our farms work with the Hamuka culture (our people centric management approach), because we are so proud of it! Therefore, this edition is fully dedicated to Hamuka. We talked to Hamuka Coordinator Laban Oyende, who explains his passion for Hamuka, and what he has seen it bring to farm life.
Change for better
Laban joined Marginpar in 2007 as a packhouse worker. When Marginpar started Hamuka in 2012, Laban was immediately intrigued by the principles and decided to join the Hamuka department. Laban: “Hamuka is derived from Kaizen, which is a Japanese concept. ‘Kai’ means change and ‘zen’ means for better, or for good. We strive for continuous improvement. For us to truly feel ownership of the culture, we came up with our own name, and so Hamuka was born.”
All our Kenyan and Ethiopian farms have a Hamuka coordinator. New employees are pleasantly surprised when they learn about the culture on our farms. Laban: “On their first day at the farm, I introduce them into the culture. I explain the principles, processes, and benefits, and then it’s time for them to experience it. They love knowing exactly what is expected of them. You can really see their enthusiasm.” Besides educating and guiding new employees in the Hamuka culture, the Hamuka coordinators are driving for continuous improvement.
Laban: “Within the Hamuka culture we grow people and our people grow flowers. We create more productivity in people. Our value adders (our valued staff) are the drivers of our business, and by inverting the triangle, we give them ownership of their jobs. We standardised all work processes and each and every value adder knows exactly what is expected of him or her. Most of the issues that occur in the field, are handled by the people in the field. They don’t have to wait for someone from above to tell them what to do. This increases efficiency tremendously.”
Open to new ideas
Laban: “In addition to increased efficiency, we also saw people becoming happier and more confident in their work. Their ideas are appreciated, and they take more responsibility. We encourage our value adders to share their ideas for improvement with us, and they have given us so many. A couple of examples that we have recently implemented at this farm alone are improving the packhouse flow by redesigning the work station, and introducing a bee hive on the farm for enhanced Hypericum pollination.”
Hamuka brought connection
Laban: “I am proud of what we have accomplished with Hamuka. There was little connection between top management and value adders, and look at us now! We do projects together, communication is easy, and the confidence has grown immensely. When value adders identify any gap, they have no fear and know who to report it to, and how. The openness, transparency and trust that come with job ownership are very much appreciated by our value adders.”