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.

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