Thursday, August 8, 2013

Japan Final Days

8 August 2013

Today marks the final appointment of my Nuffield adventure and thank you to Kumi Ito of ALIC and Kate Neath of MLA, who joined me today in venturing north into the Tsukuba prefecture to visit Tukuba Kimura Farms (TKF), a business just commencing its CI journey.

TKF produce about 1000kg of packed, mixed lettuce leaf and an assortment of herbs, daily for sale in Tokyo's restaurants, shopping centres and wholesale markets. Based on a biological production model, plants are grown in open fields and hot houses across 3 prefectures in Japan and packed at Tsukuba.

50 employees work around the clock to ensure all the packed fresh produce is available for distribution by 12 noon each day and have commenced using some of the base level TPS methods to stream line their business.  To date operational improvements have been achieved by using  the following tools;

Waste walking the packing line
Standard working procedures
Asset utilisation reviews, &
Weekly cross functional management meetings.

TKF have along way to go in achieving their objective of a 3 fold increase in production within 5 years, but have commenced this journey with the right knowledge gained form the TPS audit, best of luck.

Thank you to everyone I have meet and discussed TPS with, to the team at Wynns for covering me during this sabbatical, to TWE for the opportunity and support for this scholarship and mostly to my family for allowing me to travel, for accepting the high and lows of the past 2 years and for growing up so much while I have been away. 

Wow what a journey, Cheers.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Japan August 2013

5 August
UD Trucks a division of Volvo International
Todays visit focused on pure manufacturing and the ways CI has evolved in the Japanese workplace. UD operate on a workplace 1 hour north of Tokyo on 400ha of factory space and represent 12% of all truck sales in Japan.  3700 employees work on the site and are amongst 9000 nation wide.

Over 1000 model types of trucks are available and purchasing orders are triggers for build operations, right through from engine construction to fabrication of chassis and cabins.

UD rely heavily on 2 CI principals to achieve less than 2% rework;
 Poka-Yoka-: mistake proofing devices to assist employees to complete the value adding task.
Standard Work-:specific work descriptions detailing cycle time, takt time, work sequence and inventory parts required.

The birth place of CI or Toyota Production System (TPS).  Unfortunately photos are not allowed and lone visitors are restricted to where they can travel/talk to.

The two pillars we were presented as the key to Toyota success are;
Just in Time (JIT) manufacturing, to create the product at the correct time in the correct amount to meet the customers needs., once an order has been placed and confirmed, thus removing Muda (waste) and surplus inventory. 
Jidoka: the principal that production line must be stopped if the operator is not achieving 100% quality of value during their specific task.

Jidoka works by empowering the  operator to identify the error, plan to rectify within station takt time, if unable notifies supervisor, they then have a designated time to address, if not achieved line will be stopped until error has been rectified. This practices ensures 100% quality of product makes it to the end station.

Toyota are now listed as the largest car manufacturer in the world and boost that 97% of their vehicles can be recycled back into manufacturing. A very impressive tour even without close access to the CI tools they have been using.

7 August
 Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
230ha of open cry auctioning system for fish and vegetables, destined for the Tokyo population.  An amazing place with no CI or safety foundations evident, quite surprising. 
Tsukiji is famous for its live tuna sales and turns over   $300million yen/day in sales, supports 30,000 employees, moves 7500 tonnes of produce in 24 hours and contributes to an estimated 7.8 billion yen in sales/day for fish&vegetables across Tokyo's 6 markets.
An amazing market space and such a contrary to the organised workplaces visited.

Italy August 2013

After some quality family time with Suse, the scholarship travels have recommenced, with a focused look at Italian viticulture.

29 July
Alessandro Ceretto, Ceretto Wines, Barolo
100 ha vineyard with 4 winery with 4 DCOG regions, very expensive overheads to secure the right to label wines DCOG (appellation). Alessandro is the third generation viticulturist at this Barole House and is very passionate about organics and bio-dynamic farming. During development stages no soil tillage occurs, thus preserving the soil micro-fauna.
The Italians to are dealing with high alcohol wines with changes in their canopy management techniques, which involves less trimming and  retention of more leaf at harvest, contrary to some of the French thinking.

Apart from copper and sulphur, Alessandro uses no pesticides and manages weeds undervine with slashers. 

30 July
Alberto Cordero, Cordero Montezemolo, La Morra
19th generation land manager,  on the same site his fore founders settled 700 years ago.  Wine production started in the 1850 and has continued unbroken to this day. The marriage of old a new technology is very evident with raw livestock manure and natural yeasts being used across the vineyard and winery, whilst a robotic lawn mower tends to the lawns surrounding the winery.   

31 July 
Francesco & Ivano Reali, Castello Gabbiano, San Casciano
170ha vineyard, 50% leased and 10% being redeveloped. Records indicate wine was grown on the estate as far back as 1464, however unfortunately museum wines only date back  20 years.

Bud grafting during the past season has been very successful, with strike rates of 98% being achieved.  This grafting appears popular with many growers chip bud grafting the desired clones onto rootstocks that have been in the ground for 12 months, rather than planting a grafted dormant vine.

Heavy reliance on large track working equipment, with 6 dozers & excavators working across 10Ha of vineyard redevelopment, removing rock.  A costly exercise!

Thank you to the hosts of this leg of the journey a very interesting an engaging few days looking at Italian viticulture.  Onto Japan for the final leg of the trip where I hope to visit as many businesses practicing CI as possible.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

France 8th and 9th July

Braud New Holland, Philippe Boisseau

The opportunities continue to happen with the Nuffield Scholarship, with a  2 day internship at Braud's Coex manufacturing plant in the XX district.  During the past two days the level of detail of Brauds process has been presented and where they are achieving improvement from their CI  program, has been impressive.

Braud delivered its first self propelled harvester to the French market in 1975, in 1980 the noria bucket system was developed, in 2002 the first de-stemmer was invented and in 2010 the refinement of the de-stemmer to remove other MOG was presented to the market.  As a multiple SITEVI award winner, they have delivered some very impressive technologies to the market.

In 1984 Braud was purchased by Fiat Agri, which was later purchased by Case New Holland.  Prior to these buy outs, Bruad was a family business.  It still retains the culture of a family business, which is accredited to the staff involvement in the development of the harvesters.

Some KPI's around the grape harvester manufacture at Braud, Coex
ISO 9001,14001 & 18001 accredited, requiring every 10th unit to be QA tested for 8 hours, across 1000 elements of measure
World Class Manufacturing WCM implemented in 2008
350/mach/pa at a takt time of 4hours/mach
360 man hours/machine
220 people on Coex site
3000 individual parts/mach
15000 individual parts held for production of 450 different model options
3000 tn of steel, 3.5tn of weld & 75 tn of paint used annually

Some of the high level achievements attributed to their CI approach are;

(1) spaghetti analysis of welding station measured 285meters of wasted motion in each harvester frame, by measuring and re-designing station layout able to reduce takt time by 50%

(2) repeatable  "one point lessons" across tractor build line has delivered consistent 6% reduction in takt time per harvester

(3) reduction in supplier delivery time deviation from plan, May 2013 recorded 31% of deliveries out side plan variance, 13% late & 18% early, below trend line and KPI of 35% of all deliveries.

Some Opportunities for Improvement OFI, observed and discussed;

(1) incorporation of  external component suppliers eg auto washing, into problem resolution practices

(2) un-level production expectations for welding sections

(3) standard work practice in harvester head assembly line

(4) removal of stock from shopping aisles that are required for different models

(5) clipping of low hanging waste opportunities eg nuts,bolts,oil, filters, time.

A very education and informative two days, thanks to Phillip and the crew for spending the time with me.  Merci 

Sunday, July 7, 2013


1 July 2013
Johannes Krutten, Clemens

The German leg of my CI journey started off with a magnificent meal with Johannes in the town of Wolf on the Mosell river.  The beauty of a fast following river, terraced vineyards, the spring scent and fine Riesling will not be missed on this Cabernet drinker.

Clemens is a family owned business, specialising in vineyard canopy manipulation equipment and employing 130 people in their small production site in Wittlich.  Their ability to manage and produce over 3000 single units per annum, that require over 13,000 individual parts, is a testament to the attention to detail this business exemplifies. Whilst it was not clearly evident CI or Lean manufacturing principals were being consciously practiced, the very nature of the workshop hygiene, the parts order and the process flow of trimmer manufacture, had all the signs of efficient Lean adoption.

A great day, thank you Johannes.

2nd July 2013
Christoph Klien & Carsten Muller,ERO

Again two wonderful hosts who work for another family business, specialising in the manufacturing of grape harvesters, trimmers and leaf pluckers.  Carsten was kind enough to walk the line with me, where we saw an impressive mature manufacturing organisation who know where their waste is and how the are providing differentiation of their product.  The ERO harvester will be the first on the market with de stemming and crushing capabilities, on board. This combination can have significant impact on the volume of MOG carted to wineries and improve transport options.

With a turnover of 20 million euro plus and a philosophy "if you bought a harvester from us, we can supply parts, no matter what age" ERO are destined to achieve their target growth of 80 harvesters per year, by 2023.

Best of luck boys we look forward to seeing the launch of ERO harvesters in 2013 at the Australian Wine Outlook Conference in Sydney. 

3rd July 
Wolfgang Krapp, Rebschule Krapp

A serious contractor in Germany, with 4 harvesters, 60 Ha of his own to manage, director of largest co-operative in region and a nursery providing over 1 million plants across the EU, this guy is very busy!!

Take home message: SO4 rootstock best in this environment, 5BB & Paulson to vigorous, 161/14 & 3309 to weak a stock.  Best RR clone 239.

4th July
Margaret Hetterich & Florian Weste, John Deere Mannheim

An amazing day watching a small portion of the hundreds of tractors built by John Deere at Mannheim. Margaret was a superb host, who's knowledge of drive train mechanics and differential splits, blew me away, I later learned she is the wife a JD Vice President, who has Deere blood in his veins.

JD pride themselves on lean manufacturing and six sigma deep dives.  Some impressive stats to ponder: takt time per tractor 3.3 minutes, 5 million euro spent per day on R&D, 67 000 employees globally, 36.15 Billion USD turnover, over 9000 part numbers per tractor, QA testing every tenth unit.

JD approach Lean/CI/Six Sigma with the adage " nothing is a precious as time" so lets not waste a precious minute.  The take home message for CI practitioners: Lean is efficiency gains, Six Sigma is for effectiveness gains and CI is for improvement gains from small practices.

The Germany adventure was closed with some fine food and vista with Margaret, Rhienard & Hans on the Wine Trail in Bad Durkheim. A great afternoon and evening that will be remembered for along time, thank you.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

UK CI Update

Due to some technical issues posts will be on a country basis and with out photo's.

24 June
Aimia Foods, Merseyside

Thank you to Colin Watts, Black belt Six Sigma, I had a very informative day understanding how Aimia had introduced the CI principals and how they were measuring their performance.

Aimia commenced their journey in 1998 with a kiazan trip to Japan and embarked on Six Sigma approaches in 2009.  They have completed cross divisional training to 75% of staff and have yellow belt coaches on each production line.  Initial focus was on tooling change over times, 5S, waste walks and standard work practices.  Subsequent to these skills they have since introduced Hoishin business planning, standard VM boards and 6S audit tools (the 6th question being safety).

This business is a very mature site with highly embedded CI practices across the entire businesses and very much willing to question every business decision with data, but to also consider the following: "What are we here for & how do we make it better, be that product,life/work balance & profitability" 

25 June
ASDA Foods, Leeds

Chris Brown was able to find time to discuss the green delivery model ASDA are using in their distribution across the UK.  ASDA are hoping to improve their market share of the 19 million shoppers/week in the UK, above 15%, by rolling out virtual stores and forming strong alliances with producers.

The key messages Chris provided are;
# origin of product labelling super important
# feedback across the entire supply chain vital for mutually successful relationships
# seasonal supply constraints must be removed
# walk the supply chain regularly
# JV opportunities areavailable

26 June
Butlers Cheese
Gill Hill

A family business specialising in cheeses for M&S and certain Tesco stores, who have only just commenced on the CI journey.  Gill key focus is to ensure transparency exists between  business objectives and employee actions.

Travel Update

4 July
Bad Durkheim
Due to technical issues posts have been few and far between, I hope to rectify this in the coming days.