Accelerator room for teaching managers how to launch and promote new products and, soon to come, courses dedicated to the theme of sustainability. Just some of the learning opportunities at the newly-founded Lean Factory School in Crespellano (near Bologna) to transfer the philosophy of lean thinking - reducing waste and simplifying movement to maximize yield of productive action - from the realm of theory to practice.
It is a project of Bonfiglioli Consulting, a firm which for the last fifteen years has been on the front lines of lean thinking and has annual billings of 7 million euros. With a staff of 50 people, involved in its lean thinking projects have been top companies such as Angelo Po (kitchens), Sergio Rossi (footwear), Baltur (burners) and Permasteelisa (roofing for skyscrapers).
As the firm's president, Matteo Bonfiglioli, explains, "we were the first in Italy to bring this approach to the corporate environment, with over 120 successful applications in all sectors of industry. Now is the time to accompany managers and businessmen into the field to get first-hand experience of how Italian factories can become more competitive."
On the floor, the managers put themselves in the shoes of their workers - literally - donning overalls and safety gear to get involved in optimizing an electric motor on the assembly line, at a workbench or at a work island. They experience the difference personally, production times and fatigue are reduced and, as a result, capitalizing on the company's human resources and keeping costs decidedly low (two absolutely necessary variables in this economic period) is easier.
The new school in Crespellano, set up in an industrial building with classrooms and a 400 sqm production area, also aims at creating team spirit because being able to work well in a group means saving time and money while feeling better about work.
Initially, there will be two training sessions: Lean-Inizio (Lean-Start) for the process sector and Inno-Basics for the innovation sector, with two-day courses (four instructors, from 9am to 6:30pm, 800 euros, including lunch) or even longer ones on request.
In their Emilia facilities, or even around Italy. Because the intent of the school's founders is to create temporary Lean Schools in different industrial areas to minimize travel for the managers involved and strengthening ties between the courses and the local area. Can it get any leaner?