Lean & agile project management

The values of rugby at the heart of successfully driving change

I have just got back from an intense week full of workshops in Johannesburg with a subsidiary of the FAAC SpA group from Bologna (Italy) and I wanted to share with you the spirit and the methods used that allowed to achieve results beyond expectations.

3 lean workshops were planned in one week with strong constraints like the distance, the modest size of the company, the cost of life, the language barrier and the spectrum of socio-ethnic cultures.

The « gemba » was owned by CENTURION, a company specialized in the design and production of gate operators.

Training on Lean Concepts

A recent launch of lean

This subsidiary launched a lean initiative approximately two years ago, aligned with the FAAC group’s policies. Arvenys Consulting, who had already worked with the European sites and the FAAC leadership, was chosen for South Africa. The target was to make sure that the lean management model was applied consistently throughout the group.

This context surfaced some fundamental aspects of managing organizational change that I want to share:

  • For directors: How to carry out leadership and efficiently drive the conversion to lean?
  • For operational managers: How to interact beyond the functional « silos » in order to increase intensity and achieve quicker the assigned targets

The predominance of management leadership

The directors of Centurion decided to initiate a lean transformation process and therefore participated directly in the workshops. With their tangible involvement, they supported so much the activities that they become active members of the operational teams. This involvement, without any doubt, was a strong driver in the motivation of all people involved and the speed with which savings were made.

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tesla front factory

Beyond the fascination and the fashion, the facts.

The American company Tesla that produces electric cars and that is considered as the leading innovative industrial company of the 21st century is starting to show what it’s really worth, which turns out to be a lot of talk without much concrete action.

Tesla took over the NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.), a joint venture created by General motors and Toyota, production sites that operated from 1984 to 2010.

From the beginning on out, Tesla, through its founder and CEO Elon Musk, wanted to disrupt the automotive industry paradigms with a futuristic view of production processes.

All of the lean production experience built up over the last decades by the best car manufacturers didn’t count.

The message was clear: production is a technical engineering problem and the solution is to automate.

Elon Musk fuelled this vision and mentioned it in a press conference in 2016 : “We are pushing robots to their maximum operation speed, we are asking our suppliers to build much quicker robots and they are shocked by our requests as nobody had ever made them before”

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