Modern automotive lean detailed at LMJ Conference 2013

Posted on 29 May 2013

It is by constantly developing our people and focusing on fostering a culture of continuous improvement that we can hope to, one day, achieve success.

This was the message of the 4th annual LMJ Conference, a two-day event held last week by TM’s sister publication Lean Management Journal in Birmingham.

Manufacturing, naturally, made a very important contribution to the conference, with speakers from Volvo, Chrysler and Toyota Material Handling providing highlights from Day One.

Mauro Pino, Head of World Class Manufacturing at Chrysler Group at LMJ Annual Conference 2013
Mauro Pino, Head of World Class Manufacturing at Chrysler Group at LMJ Annual Conference 2013 sq

Mauro Pino, head of World Class Manufacturing at Chrysler Group, took the audience through the principle guiding the organisation’s way to do business. When Italian car manufacturer Fiat came into the picture in 2009, Chrysler adopted the WCM principles in all its North American plants. World Class Manufacturing is a unique blend of technical and managerial “pillars” that make up the structure of a business that has risen from its ashes in the past four years.

Torbjorn Netland and Ebly Sanchez shared with delegates the story of Volvo, which manufactures trucks all over the world using the Volvo Production System, a platform that provides consistency in operations from North Carolina to Brazil and Sweden.

These are extremely successful improvement models, and it is no coincidence that the culture at Chrysler and Volvo is entirely based on people empowerment – the 10 technical pillars on which WCM is based, for example, are complemented by 10 managerial pillars that are intended to into account the people side of things (and a big part of Chrysler’s success is due to the development of employees at the WCM Academy in Michigan).

Toyota Material Handling’s Tony Wallis provided a fantastic close to the first day of the conference with an insightful and engaging explanation of the culture at what is commonly seen as the most successful manufacturer in the world.

It wasn’t just large companies that presented at the LMJ Conference, however. SCGM, a Serbia-based small engineering company, shared its story too: it launched its lean programme a year and a half ago (Lean Management Journal has followed it from the very beginning) and it is already reaping the benefits. SCGM’s presentation showed how size of an organisation doesn’t matter if continuous improvement really becomes ingrained in its culture.

For a more comprehensive wrap up, see next month’s Lean Management Journal or visit