Continuous improvement at the LEAN FACTORYMarch 2019
Swapping the vineyard dream for lean management at BINDER
BINDER was recently ranked among the ten most innovative companies in the whole of Germany. The LEAN FACTORY is just one example of BINDER’s abundance of creativity.
The lean management strategy has been employed at the LEAN FACTORY for several years now. So, when Fabien Schnoering joined BINDER as Head of Lean Management back in 2017, the processes were already firmly established. The Frenchman came to BINDER from Siemens and was impressed by how well a number of measures had already been integrated at the company. “I was interested to see how the principle of lean management could be applied to a medium-sized business,” said the 35-year-old when explaining his decision to make the move to BINDER. Despite the foundations having already been laid, however, Schnoering has still had a lot of work to do over the past two years. “We’ve expanded the lean management system and there’s still a lot of potential to take it further,” Schnoering affirms.
But what does “lean management” actually mean? Schnoering explains: “Lean thinking is all about eliminating waste in all its forms. The method was first used after the Second World War by Toyota in Japan to deal with the problem of bottlenecks. The rest of the world really started to get on board with this form of management during the 1990s.”
Schnoering, who completed his Master’s thesis while at Siemens, has his own way of increasing efficiency at work. He regularly supervises staff during the production process and makes a note of points for improvement, many of which have already been implemented. The tools for the Assembly V (vacuum drying chambers) process, for example, are kept close at hand, and individual parts are precisely numbered so that BINDER employees can recognize them quickly. Other components are also unpacked during the pre-assembly stage and made ready for production. “We’ve increased our output for Assembly V by over 20%,” says Schnoering. Assemblies M and C are set to be converted in the coming year.
Sometimes, Schnoering also tests out work steps in the production process itself, in order to experience first hand where more work needs to be done to improve efficiency. “The fact that I get to work on developing processes on the computer and get up close to the production process itself is what makes working at BINDER so fun,” says Schnoering, who originally hails from the Burgundy region of France.
Schnoering wants to continue down this path and develop new methods for use in the LEAN FACTORY to boost efficiency even further. According to Schnoering: “Digitization will not replace lean management. It is important, though, that the lean management team is involved right from the development stage of a new product. That’s what we’re doing at the moment, and we need to make sure that this continues and is intensified in the future,” Schnoering affirms, who, true to his French roots, once considered running his own vineyard!