Quite commonly, “Lean” is thought of as a tactic or a cost-saving program suited only for manufacturers. This is not true. Lean applies in every business and is transferrable between sectors and business units. Organizations in all sectors are using Lean principles to shape the way they think and act.
Lean is a production method, originally derived from Toyota’s operating model of the 1930s, based on the fundamental idea of maximizing customer value while minimizing waste. In other words, creating more value for customers with fewer resources, space, and waste.
Our factory in Billund adopted Lean culture in August 2018 aiming to operate more efficiently and optimize resources, and positive results are now starting to become visible. During the past year, and as a part of this process, Modulex Billund has reduced 2.670 m2 (33%) of the space used in our facilities, while increasing productivity by 27%.
All staff members have undertaken weekly training and education to achieve this transformation successfully and move to a new way of conducting business. This is a long-term investment to improve our resource management, reduce production and delivery times, and make our factory more efficient and effective. As a part of this transition, the 5S system of visual management has improved our in-house organization. This system consists of five pillars—Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain—that turn the maintenance of the workplace into a visual process and help re-organize and reduce manufacturing waste, which has dropped by 21% during the past decade.
On top of this, environmental counselling is helping our factory in Billund to analyze the use of energy, water, and resources and cut them down even further. By adopting energy-efficient technologies, such a UV printing and LED, improving our oven systems, and moving most of our work teams to dayshifts we have managed to cut our electricity consumption by 46% from 2011 – 2018. By acting and thinking Lean, we are determined to continue down this path towards maximum energy efficiency.
Lean, like sustainability, is not a short-term strategy or a way to cut down costs. It affects the foundations of how a company operates and requires a long-term perspective and perseverance. Big changes require an even bigger commitment.
Erik Sørensen Ruiz
Environmental and Partnership Manager