To face the ever-changing market challenges, being caught unprepared is not an option. Proactiveness is key.
“In times of epoch-making market transformations such as these, it became imperative to implement a job order planning and control system that is not only simple and flexible but integrated as well, to include the many function managers and operations personnel involved”. Umberto Pittarello, Chief Operating Officer of Tecnopool, goes straight to the point when describing the lean turn taken by the company specialized in the production of food processing machines and lines. An articulated yet necessary path for managing the market demand no longer in a reactive way, as was the usual approach, but according to a proactive and more efficient logic.
The collaboration with Lenovys
The application of lean thinking principles could seem like the preferred direction to take. In fact, improving processes to reduce waste, placing the focus on the customer and people, is in itself an ambitious project. But is it enough to simply copy and paste some of the tools of this philosophy to respond to the complex and variable challenges of the market? Faced with these questions, Tecnopool has looked even further by choosing to embrace the Lean Lifestyle: The approach to change, advanced by Lenovys, the consulting company specialized in Lean Management and high-impact innovation.
The latest in Lean Lifestyle
The aim of Lean Lifestyle is to pair corporate needs with the needs of the individual, and jointly develop both technical and social excellence. In other words, to create a link between processes, tools and people, not just to increase performance but also to contribute to the well-being of employees.
For Tecnopool, determined to improve the already high standards of service offered to customers, all this has translated into setting up and sharing a planning system for materials and workloads throughout the entire supply chain. The specific aims are to:
- manage in advance any critical issues caused by the lack of or delay in materials or components so as to not jeopardize job order delivery schedules and their profitability;
- increase the productivity capacity of operators in every department;
- reduce subcontracted work;
- predict cash flows months in advance and accurately;
- improve communication between all company departments to obtain shared control of the job order portfolio and achieve tangible results every day;
- introduce R&D programs.
The stages of the project
This project consisted of four stages:
- definition of the planning process, starting with a study of the company to date and its critical issues;
- identification of the support organization, based on the activities and the responsibilities of each department and office;
- creation of the planning tools, following the collection of data and modelling of the product and production process;
- start and follow up of the planning system, to identify any issues with the new process, implement corrective measures and test the impact of the new habits in order to attain a smoothly functioning process.
“The partnership with Lenovys has made it possible to achieve numerous results” - says the COO of the Padua-based company - “From the optimization of both internal and external production flows, to the use of a planning system and an activities analysis system shared by the various company departments”.
Working as a team to accelerate change
Each step has seen the participation of every company employee. This operation has had the merit of putting staff at the center of the transformation that Tecnopool is experiencing, introducing it to a new routine. To this end, we have worked on three imperative factors to obtain results that are long-lasting and sustainable over time: competence, decision-making autonomy and greater accountability.
“Right from the onset, people were willing to accept change and work in synergy, and this has definitely impacted the success of the project”, concludes Umberto Pittarello.
In fact, it is not enough to focus only on processes and planning tools to increase performance. It is likewise essential to invest in the well-being of the people who work in the company.