Lean operations

Capacity Planning
The Applied Acumen approach to developing manufacturing operations is rooted in the principles applied by the much admired transplant operations at Honda.

When Honda set up their plant in Swindon in the UK, around the same time as both Toyota (Derby) and Nissan (Sunderland), there were no great ERP packages, and ‘Just In Time’ was something unheard of.

A further fact often overlooked is that unlike Nissan and Toyota, Honda volumes were lower. Much lower. This meant that the ability to transform an undeveloped European supply base could not simply rely on attractive volumes, whilst the levels of quality that differentiated a Honda meant a particular expectation of sceptical suppliers.

And so it is that Applied Acumen operate:

– ensure that the stakeholders all work together as a team, working in a mutual way, for mutual benefit
– ensure that communication is followed through with consistent behaviours
– lead with behaviours, they hold far more value than any technical change you may make
– build a plan and develop technology for the operation you want, not the other way around

We have all witnessed over the last few years the huge growth in people selling lean, or lean tools, and taking the basic principles applied at Toyota, Nissan and Honda, or even second or third generation copycats like Unipart – businesses where lean principles have been introduced and new lean converts have been born – in to all manner of businesses and environments. The language of ‘kaizen’ has become pretty ubiquitous, and there are few whose working lives have not been touched, and many who perhaps justifiably feel like old hands.

Increasingly, we are seeing organisations, and these old hands, having been down the lean path for some time, yet either improvements have dried up, or worse still gone backwards; a kind of initiative fatigue and even resentment prevails. Additionally, there are other, much bigger problems, problems that not everyone in an organisation will even be aware of.

Furthermore, and here’s another important point often overlooked – the people and companies doing this are your competitors, or your suppliers, all doing the same thing as each other, yet expecting to come out on top! Almost everyone is taking the same approach, particularly in operations, using the same tools, focussing upon the same things, doing the same things, in a mass of comfort zone “me too” mediocrity.

The truth is that high performance lean behaviours, and the results that are achieved from exhibiting them routinely, do not come through any of the approaches that we’ve witnessed being sold by consultants, or lectured by business schools, or written about by so called ‘gurus’.

This is something we learned many years ago from Honda, and it is why our approach at Applied Acumen is different from everyone else!

Since our formation in 2002, companies working with Applied Acumen have experienced an average near double-digit increase in ROCE directly linked to our programmes.

Moreover, these are organisations with ordinary employees, but by following our methodology are now doing extraordinary things day after day, routinely.

      Contact us for more information today on 01285 700800