Teammitglieder beim Management-Workshop und Kaizen-Training bei Huf Portuguesa.

Lean Management-Workshop and Kaizen training at Huf Portuguesa

People & Passion |

With the Huf Production System (HPS) based on a holistic view of production, Huf has established a highly effective approach that improves the worldwide standardization of processes, makes production more efficient, and enables continuous improvement on a global scale. HPS workshops as recently organized at Huf Portuguesa mark the start of the standardization of Kaizen events.

Good, better, Kaizen: The Japanese philosophy of life and work embodies the constant striving for improvement. Kaizen is also firmly established in the world - it is one of the core elements of lean management. Huf also aligns all work processes with lean management principles. What's more, with the Huf Production System (HPS), the company has established its own system that enables production to be made even more efficient with the help of standardized lean processes. In order to establish these standards worldwide even more deeply, Huf has started a series of special HPS workshops, the first taking place in Portugal mid-September. This also addressed the question of how future Kaizen events can be standardized. The entire European HPS team led by Dr. Michael Koziol was involved.

Lean Management at Huf: Workshop provides important impetus for the entire company

Kaizen also means: Never be satisfied with the current state, but always strive for the absolute optimum. However, this can only be achieved if you are open to improvements and regularly subject yourself and your usual work processes to a critical review. This is precisely the task of the global HPS team at Huf. During the week-long HPS workshop, the lean experts analyzed current potential for cross-process optimization at the site in Tondela, Portugal. The insights gained will successively benefit all Huf sites - thus Huf Portuguesa is setting new lean impulses for the entire company.

Der Management-Workshop bei Huf Portuguesa gab den Startschuss für ein Pilotprojekt zur Standardisierung von Prozessen und Kaizen-Events.

The Lean Management workshop at Huf provided important impetus for holistic production and global standardization.

The reason for the workshop in Portugal is to set up new production lines for newly acquired customer projects. The target: a further optimization of the production layout and manufacturing processes as well as material flow. The HPS team led by Dr. Michael Koziol therefore started with a precise analysis of the current situation. This involved applying various lean methods, such as the spaghetti diagram for visualizing work processes and material flows. It is used to depict the current status and to identify possible “types of waste” such as unnecessary transport routes or excessive movement sequences.

Cross-process optimization: HPS team focuses firmly on the holistic approach

“The current layout works very well for the existing tasks. However, the upcoming expansion of the portfolio of Huf Portuguesa entails necessary changes in some areas and offers us potential to optimize the overall process. Shortening the distances and waiting times between the individual production stations quickly emerged as the main goal,” explained Dr. Michael Koziol.

During the workshop, the lean experts focused on cross-process optimization. “For us, the holistic approach is important. This means that the goal is not to gradually optimize individual processes such as injection molding or production stations in the assembly department at the plant. Instead, we always keep an eye on the big picture, how the individual processes interact as a whole,” describes Dr. Koziol. “To put it simply, we coordinate the individual optimization processes so precisely that each individual wheel in the production process functions perfectly - and that all the wheels mesh together seamlessly.”

Even leaner production: Moving into the fast lane with HPS

Based on their analysis of the current processes in Tondela, the HPS experts designed numerous process optimizations and, above all, a target vision for an even “leaner” production. In the next step, they checked directly on site how the new processes could be implemented in the plant. “Many of our findings could immediately be put into practice. Others we will incorporate into series production in the medium term. And of course, this newly acquired know-how will also benefit other Huf locations in the future,” explains Dr. Michael Koziol. This is because the experience gained during the workshop will flow directly into the HPS. From this, further knowledge will be derived for standardization and optimization in other plants.

Background: When applied to motor racing, the Huf Production System would be the team management. If, in the search for the last millisecond in the battle for the fastest time, a new tire compound is tested on one of the team's race cars, for example, and this proves to improve the lap times, it must be ensured that this tire compound also works in exactly the same way on the other identical race cars and optimizes their lap times, too. At the end of the day, however, it's the overall package that counts: Not only the tire compound, but also the engine, chassis, the entire vehicle and the driver must be ideally matched.

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