Issue No. 40 - April/ /
Leaning the way for SA
by Professor Peter Hines
Heavily diversified suppliers are undisturbed.
It seems the multi-faceted boom in resource development and defence is making
SA manufacturers better prepared, more agile, quicker to adapt to new opportunities.
If so, our manufacturing sector is fertile ground for Lean Enterprise thinking,
Toyota’s world-beating formula for making value.
It’s axiomatic among manufacturers that mass production is a thing of the past in South Australia. Chinese economies of scale make competition impossible.
And nobody should object, according to lean enterprise expert Professor Peter Hines, because a narrow focus on mass production is the road to ruin.
Success in manufacturing isn’t about more or cheaper, it’s about value, Peter points out - something SA manufacturers are ideally placed to deliver.
One of the world’s prime exponents of lean enterprise, the brains behind revolutionary performances from UK food retailer Tesco and steelmaker Corus, Peter says lean manufacturing is about focusing effort and removing waste.
But he says the idea of waste reduction is too often interpreted as cost-cutting - not the same thing at all.
Lean manufacturing doesn’t take place on the shop floor, with production processes, but starts in the boardroom with management decisions. And we have a very relevant example of this in Mitsubishi. More of that later.
Lean enterprise thinking was pioneered at Toyota and first articulated in the context of making cars, but it can apply to just about anything and has become very international. Peter, a voluble Englishman based in Wales, has preached the Japanese concept to an A-list of European, American and Australian firms and is an adjunct professor at UniSA.
He visited recently to run a lean enterprise course for industry and will return in September to run a course for public sector organisations.
Peter is deeply experienced in his field, w...