Using the example of Albrecht Jung GmbH, a specialist for electrical installation and building services engineering, we can show you the process of conversion to lean production.
Already in the early 2000s the company introduced lean production. Even today they still benefit from the measures implemented at that time. This means that new developments are constantly possible.
In the company, the production manager Mario Schäfer is responsible for the constant implementation of lean production. The company underwent a change of perspective – away from product focus to process optimization. This means that the same or at least similar processes are now combined, completely independent of the product to be manufactured. Since then, this consolidation into a flow production line has formed the basis for the company’s orientation towards lean production. Mario Schäfer put together a lean team of his own to identify such processes and then redesign production.
For each production line, the employees, together with the works council and the lean team, work out the conversion of their line to lean production in three steps in a workshop lasting about one week each:
1. building understanding
In the first part, the lean team explains lean production to the employees. It becomes clear that a leaner orientation does not mean job cuts, but results in the reduction of unnecessary steps. This then leaves more time for more important tasks. In this step, the employees also look at the material side of lean production. This is in line with Mario Schäfer’s motto: “It doesn’t take a whole tree trunk to make a toothpick.”
Another important step is to build up understanding. Employees have the opportunity to develop their own concrete proposals for streamlining production in dialogue with the lean team. Mario Schäfer agrees that this point is very important: “Inductive learning also means taking time so that employees can try things out for themselves, develop solutions and fully understand the topic.”
2. line balancing
The proposed solutions must of course be tested and refined. This is done in this step. The ideas are tested for practicability on the basis of a jig construction with production-specific fixtures, devices and apparatus. In line balancing, it is then also determined which work steps are to be carried out at which workstations. These tests continue until the optimum solution is found. The solution is then put into practice in production.
3. keep it running
For optimal success and a high level of acceptance among employees, it is important to keep in touch with them: “Continuity is the key to employee confidence,” says Mario Schäfer. “Especially the little things that are unclear form potential stumbling blocks that can erase acceptance of the new.”
For this reason, there are always contact persons on site for any questions.