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ILERI introduces lean thinking to improve its service to customers

ILERI Group has embarked on an exciting new programme to improve the service to its customers by introducing lean manufacturing at its Gebze plant.
Lean thinking is part of a global movement that aims to improve the performance of organisations by maximizing value to customers and minimizing waste. It involves transforming the whole manufacturing process and culture, by streamlining operations, reducing waste in resources and production processes and improving the flow of products and services to customers.
Transformation at Gebze began in December 2011 with the help of the Lean Institute Turkey (Yalin Enstitu Dernegi), part of the worldwide lean network. Initially, a team was established to lead the changes and staff members took part in lean awareness training. The team devised a project plan and planning phase and created a flow chart to identify what are known in lean thinking as ‘Mudas’ – wasteful and unproductive activities which add no value to the product and create inefficiencies in the production process.
The lean team identified aspects of production that could be improved by the Kaizen method – part of lean thinking. Kaizen derives from the Japanese word for ‘improvement’ and involves looking for continuous improvement in standardised and other processes in manufacturing and getting rid of activities or practices that slow production down. Key Performance Indicators were also identified to help with the process.
ILERI has set up a pilot project with one product family, using the principles of Kanban or ‘just in time’ inventory management and production control. This is basically a streamlined system, used by Toyota in Japan, that helps the manufacturer to decide what to produce, how much to produce and when to produce it. The goal of the Kanban method is to improve efficiency, respond more effectively to the demands of customers and reduce the amount of stock that has to be stored.
Following on from the pilot project ILERI will extend this method to all its product groups throughout 2012. With the help of lean thinking, ILERI aims to decrease the stocks it holds by a minimum of 50%, improve in-time delivery performance by up to 100% and free up more space at Gebze, improving capacity by up to 40%.
“We are very excited about this development,” said Gurhan Horbay, Assistant Director General in charge of production. “Lean manufacturing and the Kaizen methods involve every member of the team, at every stage of production, in helping to improve the quality of our production processes and the service to our customers.
“By introducing much more flexibility in our production and supply and eliminating wasteful activities, we aim to decrease our total operational time by 50%. This will make us more competitive and much more responsive to what our customers want at all stages of the production and supply chain.”
You can find out more about lean thinking at