Our lean strategy for sustainable change
Santalucia Mobili is creating synergies between sustainability and lean strategy, with shared methods and goals. Improvements to production and demand to guarantee increasing levels of quality are just two aspects of the company’s plan for change.
In this interview, Ennio Marcon, Operations Manager at Santalucia Mobili, explains how the company is moving towards a lean and green future.
What is “lean thinking”?
I think that to properly understand this approach you need to start from the premise that, within a company, quality is not just a product consideration but has a broader scope. It depends on the internal structure, which includes production-system dynamics, but the involvement of people is also important. This is where the lean approach comes into play, step by step, offering the company the tools it needs to optimise production efficiency, focusing on the value of people.
What led to the idea to introduce this system at Santalucia Mobili?
It was a bold choice: we basically had to question everything about how the company is structured, in order to identify and resolve any issues with the system of production. This led to the “To Do Future” project, a concrete action plan developed to improve product quality by applying lean methods, whilst maintaining our strong focus on the environment, another area which is very important to us.
In a year marked by the desire to relaunch, we’re convinced that this process of change is a strong and decisive response, to build a solid future, enabling us to be more efficient, competitive and sustainable in an increasingly demanding market.
How will this process of renewal look? What are the actions and areas of implementation?
In terms of implementation, we’ll be working with Toyota Material Handling, a company that has created and adopted lean methods as its core philosophy, and is the perfect partner for us. Working in a lean environment means streamlining processes, and building a company where production efficiency minimizes waste and unused materials, a company that responds to the needs of customers in terms of intrinsic product quality and the quality of the methods employed for a service.
At Santalucia Mobili, everything started with an initial analysis of how the company is set up. From here, we were able to identify performance indicators that highlighted the issues to resolve by taking action on various fronts: from production through to customer services. 12 areas for improvement have been identified within the company. Work is now in progress, change is underway, but our goal remains clear: constant improvement and innovation.
Lean methods, and corporate and environmental sustainability: what’s the connection?
Fundamentally, sustainability is achieved with a lean approach through a calibrated and informed use of raw materials, eliminating wastage or, in the case of machinery, through usage aimed at saving energy.
Another goal involves managing materials more attentively, in order to minimise stock on hand and avoid slow-moving inventory, as well as potential reprocessing.
What role do people play in this process of change?
People play a fundamental role: they are an integral part of this change; they offer the real added value that makes it possible. We would like all colleagues to play a central role, and the same goes for our customers and any external collaborators that support us through this change. Our goal is to train and guide colleagues towards a common, shared change. As regards customers, we must understand and meet their needs through direct synergy, integrating all parties involved in the chain into this change, from production through to the consumer.
With the first areas for improvement launched, the strategy is already translating into action and Santalucia Mobili is taking its first steps towards sustainable change.