“LEAN THINKING TO US MEANS GIVING OUR CLIENTS CONCRETE ADVANTAGES”. THE CHANGE THAT STARTED WITH A NEW BUSINESS UNIT INVOLVES THE WHOLE COMPANY.
Italy, Japan, a two-way exchange. Just like the leather, measured using our devices, that has finally reached the Toyota factories and the productive approach used in those factories that is now part of our daily work. In 2019 we started travelling along a road that involved implementing the principles of “lean production” and “kaizen” (“continuous improvement” in Japanese), which this year has already started giving results. The goal? Creating better value for our clients.
No-one can explain the concept better than our production manager Agostino Mastrotto, who during these past months carefully analysed and redefined our processes and work spaces. “The first result was the internal redesign of the main production premises.
But “lean” is a philosophy that we’re implementing at every level.” The approach is based on the study of all the work phases to progressively eliminate the “muda” (“waste” in Japanese) that reduces work efficiency.
1000 HOURS OF TRAINING
As an old Japanese saying says, a road can be long or short but becomes endless until the first step is taken. And there is always one first step: learning. Even when adopting the lean philosophy,
training is a key element. This is why a group of our colleagues is learning and testing the principles and instruments of this methodology. The group includes staff from all company areas. Production firstly, but also sales, assistance, software and the technical office, for a total of more than 1,000 hours in all. Our objective is for this small, major revolution to embrace the whole company at every level. Of the staff involved, two (the production and quality managers) are facing more specific training so as to become our lean production “internal consultants”.
A LEAN UNIT
One of the most insidious “muda” in production is the time needed by workers and materials to change position, which does not create value for clients. “This is why we analysed the work flows and redesigned the premises layout from zero, so we could reduce the need to move to a minimum. This gave a 90% reduction in the amount of time that is not dedicated to product value, increasing the quality of the controls during all phases and also worker safety.”
6 months were needed to finish the project and 10 days to physically move lines and stores. “In addition to always have everything close at hand, we increased the usable production surface by 100% and generated a “visible progress flow” that lets us know the production and supply states at a glance. Finally, space rationalisation also increased production flexibility and the possibility of relations between the various technical areas, which favours the sharing of information and experience.”
Those are the immediate results. But what interests us more is that process rationalisation and a “kaizen” approach tied to continuous improvement that embraces all sections translate into solid advantages for our clients in terms of quality and product durability, reply speed, flexibility. They are all advantages that even the workers became involved in. “Initially, a certain resistance to change is perfectly normal. Habits are difficult to change. The “it’s always been done like this before” logic is reassuring, but damaging in any company because it prevents improvement. Our staff
showed that they were able to adapt, further proof of the professionalism of those who work at all levels of GER Elettronica. Now they appreciate the higher levels of simplicity, tidiness, and production without having to reduce work times but by simply eliminating inefficiency and wasted time”. We are sure, therefore, that this is just the start of an extremely satisfying journey.
REDUCTION IN PRODUCTION
100%INCREASE IN PRODUCTIVE