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Lean approaches




Value Stream Management is a systematic and rigorous analysis and improvement method applied to the company's general flows in order to optimise performance by:

  • Acting on critical levers to physical and information flows in each company.
  • Applying Lean time and cost reduction techniques.
  • Using specific display modes (Value Stream Mapping) to identify and share critical elements, approaches and potential improvements.

Productivity Europe has developed a very effective process to set up Value Stream Management in order to analyse and reconfigure a company's fundamental flows by developing a shared vision of these flows and identifying all the key improvement points for drastic time and cost reduction.


Complex production flow performance


How can we implement optimal flow management and obtain excellent performance levels without allocating specific equipment to each Value Stream?

In reality, it is often very difficult, and even impossible, to achieve the ideal implementation situation for an efficient flow. Management of production flows using common processes (treatment furnaces, "monument" equipment…) often raises problems in terms of companies' time and cost reduction processes.

Productivity Europe has developed an advanced approach for the implementation of synchronous continuous flows in the case of shared resources, which will allow companies which have started to implement the fundamental Value Stream Management and Lean Manufacturing approaches (production units, pull flows) : to make a great leap forward in their performance!

  • How to optimise synchronisation of each individual flow and production stage
  • Drastically reduce lead times of value streams by using shared equipment
  • Scheduling for shared processes



The introduction of a production unit is a structured analysis and action process that overturns the logic of traditional manufacturing.

Wherever VSM has shown that it was possible, we group together processes into a continuous-flow production unit. Parts pass one at a time between stages without intermediate storage and without waiting times.

The introduction of a production unit is a structured analysis and action process that overturns the logic of traditional manufacturing.


Pull flow : KANBAN

Because it costs more to produce when you are not supposed to... than produce nothing at all.

Kanban is a visual pull flow management system that can be used when production conditions force you to interrupt the continuous flow of parts. It consists of a fixed quantity of parts and a set of accompanying Kanban cards (one card per part or per batch of parts).

Kanban cards may be adapted when for example:

  • You need to manage a variety of references or components in one place.
  • Production cycles are not compatible between two successive cycles.
  • Production means are not yet at the level required for organisation as a unit.



Cut production change times to reduce lead times and obtain a key competitive advantage.

SMED is a drastic method to cut changeover times.

It takes its full importance when moving towards Lean production.
Its implementation is indispensable in the application of load levelling rules which give priority to production on the basis of customer demand rather than mass production.
It is a simple and structured methodology that analyses and improves machine tool changeover, resulting in concrete improvement actions and which may, through standardisation, ensure sustainability of drastically cut changeover times.


5S and the visual factory

5S is the basis of all continuous improvement Lean programmes and is used to develop standards and the use of visual management.

The 5S are a systematic and rigorous approach to workplace management. The aim is to develop a clean and tidy working environment where nothing is superfluous or useless. Tools are available where needed and flows self-evident at a glance.

Simple in appearance only, the introduction of a successful 5S programme relies on capacity to develop team dynamics on the shopfloor.
The 5S are easy to understand, but their simplicity stops there, as their success requires: setting up a genuine team environment in the workplace, developing real team autonomy, sharing the same workplace transformation vision and the same autonomous culture by senior and middle management and production personnel. 

The aim is not to deploy a tool in a traditional, hierarchical way, but guide workplace team to implement structured tools themselves, in order to improve the workplace. The role of middle management and supervisors is decisive in this kind of programme.


5S in offices: the LEAN OFFICE

Eliminate waste in administrative and support services.

The 5S allow rapid and real analysis of office processes. They are therefore a fundamental part of the Lean Office process.

Productivity Europe has set up an action-learning process adapted to all types of office environment: purchases, accounting, cash management, sales, central services, legal, financial, etc. to rapidly achieve concrete results and set up new operating standards in each department by the introduction in each department of structured team processes.


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