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Monday, May 9, 2011

Europe Lean Tour Day One

We bring day-to-day updates from our LSI Europe Lean Tour program.  The blog updates are being written by our Master Blackbelt students.  First day update is from Kevin Wack:

Stuttgart Germany

Many of us came in early yesterday to tour the Porsche museum. Not only are the cars amazing, the museum itself has great architecture - Fast, sleek, and modern, just like in a real Porsche vehicle.

After an early, though somewhat heavy lunch, (hello Germany!) we all boarded the bus and headed toward Bosch. Bosch is a tier-one supplier to many of the European auto manufacturers…. it produces high-end electronics and auto components in addition to the more retail oriented products we see every day: tools, appliances and electronic components.

The Bosch factory we toured produces pumps and injectors for diesel engines. We were fortunate to have a number of key supervisors and managers from each of the areas in the facility. Visual communication is very evident and of high quality - all of the participants were furiously note taking through the entire session.
A great aspect of this tour is the learning about lean and how it applies to their system. These tours bring real clarity to the gap that exists day to day in our regular workplaces.

Porsche. Porsche. Porsche.
Hard to describe a tour of one of the premier sports car companies in the world.

Many people don't know that in the early 1990's, Porsche was struggling financially, and the story goes that they invited some folks in from Toyota to help them turn around their operations. The Toyota people found racks and racks of inventory, much of it obsolete. They helped Porsche adopt Lean principles, and touring through today it is easy to see the folks at Porsche are great students!
How about this? 0.8 days of inventory; V6, V8, different colors, 911, 911 Caymen, 911 Carrera,911 GTS 911 speedster, 911 Turbo, Boxster, Boxster R's, all produced on the same line. Wow.
In the engine room over two lines we saw them produce the flat 6 flat 4, V6, and the unbelievable V8! We see that they work with their vendors to find a better way improve their processes like reducing the number of parts and while increasing strength and reducing the amount of pressure on the part.

Just like the cars, our tour guides were absolutely terrific. They had answers to all of our questions, all '534' of them over the two hour tour period.
Our schedule this week is very tight, and we invite you back for our updates over the next few days.

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