Wendelin Wiedeking, at 41, took charge of Porsche in October 1992.For the previous six years, Porsche, based in Zuffenhausen, near Stuttgart, had been accelerating downhill. In the mid-1980s, it was selling 50,000 cars a year; last year it sold 14,000 and made a record loss of DM239m.
Wiedeking went to the best Japanese lean consulting firm, Shin-Gijutsu. The firm's leading consultants were Mr. Iwata and Mr. Nakao. For 30 years, Mr Iwata and Mr Nakao had been steeped in the development of Toyota's super-efficient production process. They were part of the inner circle around the legendary engineer Taiichi Ohno. Mr Iwata, who had spent many years in charge of Toyota's Kaizen, or continuous improvement programme, left to set up Shin-Gijutsu, which means 'new technology'.
The most dramatic transformation has taken place in the engine assembly plant, where shelves two and a half metres high on either side were stacked with parts up to 28 days requirement.
The Shin-Gijutsu men made the workers halve the height of the shelves as an intermediate solution. Later in in this year, the shelves were removed altogether. Now only inventory enough for just 30 minutes, hanging on specially designed trolleys that come up continuously from the 'supermarket' in the basement is arranged. Porsche has leapt from old-fashioned stock control to a just-in-time system.
The results were impressive in 1993. The production time of the new Porsche 911 Carrera has been reduced by a third, to 86 hours. The best comparable Japanese time is of 50 to 60 hours. Whereas 70 per cent of Porsches three years ago required expensive rectification at the end of the production line, the proportion is now half that. Inventory levels have been reduced by 44 per cent: 7,000 square metres of shopfloor space have been freed and rented out. A worker suggestion scheme, which in the past generated fewer than 20 ideas a month, has now exploded to around 2,500.
In 2003, the firm turned a profit in excess of €1bn – a striking reminder of the true potential of process improvement.
26 March 2013
Lean Manufacturing Workshop Hosted Porsche Leipzig Plant for FINAT members
Lean’ manufacturing considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. Methods efficiency engineering (explained in detail as Operation Analysis by H.B. Maynard) and Value Analysis also have the same aim. Elimination of waste that is resources consumed by a product or process but not adding value to the customer)
Lean thinking or management aims to increase efficiency, optimize workflow and decrease waste. In other words, it aims preserving value for the customer with less resources. In the current context it fits perfectly in a company’s corporate responsibility as far as sustainability is concerned. The lean methodology results in saving various resources through improved quality and fewer defects; reduced inventory; less space; increased manufacturing flexibility. It also leads to safer work environment and improved worker motivation. It is based on systematic detection and elimination of inefficiencies.