Business Tour of Transport Engineering 2014 – Lean

With this second blog post, we will give an insight in the observations and experiences gathered during the first company visits in Vietnam. Belonging to this first group are PetroVietnam, FrieslandCampina and Heineken. As mentioned in the previous blog post, the differences between these companies, as well as their Dutch counterparts, will be discussed. We will look at both operational and cultural differences, with the focus on using lean manufacturing tools. Similarities between companies will also be discussed.
During the visits to Heineken, FrieslandCampina and PetroVietnam Technical Service Corporation (PTSC), the implementation of lean was discussed. We have seen two strategies to optimize production and eliminate losses, TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) at Heineken and WCOM (World Class Operation Management) at FrieslandCampina. Both strategies use existing tools like Lean and SixSigma to assess the state of companies and possibilities for eliminating waste. A practical example is the use of Kanban to display key performance indicators, issues, and production targets.
WCOM and TPM are both quite similar. WCOM however is also a collection of existing tools, but designed by a specific company. TPM is a tool like lean, or SixSigma, which doesn’t belong to a certain company. FrieslandCampina uses WCOM, which normally includes Lean. Lean is however not implemented yet. The plan is to do this in 2015. PTSC was one of the companies who according to us did not use specific lean tools to optimize their operation.
The big difference we have seen in the cultural aspect, is that Vietnamese people live for the day of tomorrow. They believe that each day will be better than the day before. Each employee is eager to learn and especially proud when working for a western based company as they can learn much there. This makes implementing improvements for the company easily possible. In comparison, Dutch employees feel hesitant to change the way they work.
Most Vietnamese live to earn money as much as they can, to provide for their family. Therefore, some even run a secondary business from their home, besides their fulltime job. Employers must therefore make sure that their employees are focussed on their day job, and do not run their secondary business during working hours.

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