The CUOA Lean Centre was founded in 2006 under the initiative of the CUOA Business School, the Mechanical Engineering division of Confindustria Vicenza and fifteen companies within the territory.
Our vision is to create a Lean Society. Our mission is to be a leading centre on themes of Lean Management that spreads a “culture of lean thinking” in Italy; supporting the “lean transformation” of the various organisations by training and developing “agents of change”.
The main goals of Lean Management are maximising value for the customer while reducing the resources needed to generate this value. To achieve these goals, companies need to reorganise their processes according to five fundamental principles (value, value flow, continuous flow, pull, perfection) and, therefore, by eliminating waste and spreading a culture of continuous improvement and problem solving, freeing the best company resources so that they can be reused in new strategic challenges, guaranteeing common growth.
The transformation path incorporates a management model founded on:
- values: respect for people, sharing, communication
- attitudes: modesty, tenacity, constancy, result-oriented without conceit
- methods: a leader who becomes a teacher (Socratic method)
- techniques: 5S, Value Stream Mapping, Lean Layout, Just In Time, etc.
Lean management is primarily a management philosophy, a system of values and behaviours that go beyond the mere application of the tool and that, once internalised, build the core of business culture.
The five principles
This involves identifying what is worthwhile, what is useful, what should be produced, kept and delivered. Consumption of resources is justified only to produce value, otherwise it is waste (muda). The value can only be defined by the end customer.
2. Value Stream
This refers to the flow of value, i.e. “the set of actions that transform a product or service”: the resolution of problems from the design to production; management of information from receipt of the order to delivery; physical transformation of the raw material into a finished product.
This consists of making sure that all the other value-creating steps make up a flow that actually flows.
Today demand appears to be more and more unstable, not only quantitatively, but also in terms of volatility of preferences. This means production is “pulled” based on demand.
This is a provocation: if you really want to apply the terms of Lean Thinking, you have to seek perfection. The goal is to maintain a continuous process of improvement.
Tools and Techniques
Security, order and cleaning: the 5S method
The 5S method is associated with order, cleanliness and safety of the workplace. The term 5S comes from the following Japanese words:
- Seiri (Sort). The goal is to eliminate everything that is not absolutely essential to the production process
- Seiton (Set in order). This means organising the workplaces
- Seiso (Shine). This refers to the regular and methodical cleaning of the workplace and is the first step towards implementing a program of Total Productive Maintenance
- Seiketsu (Standardise). When the workplace has been cleaned and organised, it is essential that it is kept in that state, i.e. the program must be standardised
- Shitsuke (Sustain). Make the 5S program a lifestyle, which means maintaining a strict commitment to the entire process.
Just in time
This is producing only what is requested by the commercial needs, thus eliminating any waste of overproduction, at the time in which the demand is manifested, thus eliminating stocks of components and materials and wasted space, with immediate delivery, thus eliminating any stocks of finished products (Borghini, 2000).
Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)
Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) aims at eliminating the variability of productive activities caused by breakdowns or malfunctions of machinery and equipment.
Six Sigma Quality
This is a quality management program based on controlling variation in order to bring the quality of a product or service to a level that satisfies the consumer.
This is a technique for making manual production activities easier to perform and less error-prone. They are usually simple mechanisms that allow the operator to check the correctness of the operations. The devices are called “fool-proof” when they not only guarantee product quality but also safety of the operator.
Value Stream Mapping
Also known as “Material and Information Flow Mapping,” this tool was developed at Toyota with the aim of analysing the flow of current value and implementing concrete actions to increase value and reduce waste.
According to experts, those who embark on a Lean path must consider the following aspects:
- it’s not easy: you need humility and commitment (it took Toyota 20 years to achieve this!)
- you must know the theoretical principles of Lean Management
- you must learn the “trade secrets” from those who have already implemented Lean Transformation programs (managers and experts)
- you must see how Lean companies operate, you must go to the “gemba”
- you must personally experience the problems relating to the implementation of a Lean model and understand that you never stop learning: continuous improvement goes hand-in-hand with continuous learning.
Lean Centre - CUOA Business School
Villa Valmarana Morosini
Altavilla Vicentina (VI)
tel. +39 0444 333860, firstname.lastname@example.org