Russian steelmaker MMK, one of the world's largest steel producers, is claiming success for its new innovations scheme.

The company claims that its 'expert commission' considered 5,792 proposals, of which 3,872 (66.8%) were selected as innovative ideas to be implemented. Of the latter figure, 2,579 proposals financially benefitted the company to the tune of RUB453.6 million.

"Traditionally, most of the ideas submitted addressed the issues of labour protection and industrial safety, energy efficiency, as well as of saving material and technical resources," said the company.

The most economically advantageous aspects of the rationalisation proposals were blast furnace production in the main metal workshops (RUB 124.1 million), sheet steel production in the main rolling workshops (RUB 55.2 million), steam-blowing in the plant's energy workshops (RUB 50.6 million), and logistics management in other areas (RUB 5.4 million).

In 2018, MMK held two annual competitions dedicated to innovation. Following the results of the competition entitled Best Young Innovator and Inventor of MMK, 15 of the best innovators under the age of 30 were identified. The competition "Best Innovation Proposal of PJSC MMK" was split into three categories: 'Occupational Health and Safety', 'Saving of Material and Technological Resources' and 'Energy Saving', with the best innovation proposals in each category winning prizes.

In order to attract new employees to invent and innovate, teams in MMK divisions hold quarterly competitions for the best ideas for solving current issues. The issue at hand is chosen by the head of the division, the winners are determined through expert evaluation and the prizes are RUB 15,000, RUB 10,000 and RUB 7,000. A further aim of the innovators is to identify bottlenecks and introduce the best global practices in technological and functional processes, equipment, tools, designs, and to attract new workers to innovation.

MMK's School of Efficiency programme was introduced in May last year using TIPS (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) to search for new solutions to problematic production scenarios. Last June, in order to motivate employees to be technically creative and to attract them to innovate for the third year in a row, publicity for Fresh Idea took place on the same date as Russia's Day of the Innovator and Inventor.

MMK says that its inventors and innovators make a significant contribution to increasing productivity and reducing production costs. "Thanks to the innovative proposals of employees, production efficiency has increased, costs have been reduced, the consumption of material, technical and energy resources has decreased, labour safety has improved, and environmental issues are being resolved," said MMK.

The company says that its policies allow for rapid development through increased efficiency and cost control. "This is facilitated by scientific and technological projects and a high level of employee involvement in the company's creative technical work," said MMK. At the same time, modern IT technologies are actively used in these scientific and technical activities to reduce the amount of time between the submission of an idea and its implementation. Technological tools such as "Evolution" and "Energy Management Platform" apps are used to track the project's progress and this, claims MMK, increases the transparency of the process and strengthens internal corporate relations, creating new opportunities for MMK specialists.