The second Thursday of the tour started quite early when compared to the, still intensive, cultural program of Beijing. Today the group was headed towards PETEC: Philips Electronics TEChnology, a production plant part of the Royal Dutch Philips company.
We were welcomed at the official plant entrance, where we had an nice introduction by the plant manager Gerton Arts. Philips already has a long-term commitment to China, which is its second largest market globally, being active in the country since the 1920’s and currently employing over 17,500 employees. Philips Lighting Malu produces High Intensity Discharge lamps (HID), Special Lighting (SL) and Digital Project Lamps (DPL) and they ship these globally. On the site there are two workshops, one for DPLs and one for HID and SL and both were visited during the factory tour. At the end of the presentation insights were given about their Lean Transformation program.
During the factory tour there were huge differences to be seen, since a part of the factory has been renovated. The first stop was at the HID workshop, which consisted of several production lines where fittings were readied; bulbs attached and quality checks were made before packaging. The real eye opener was in the fact that this workshop was still relying heavily on manual labor, which was carried out by mostly women due to their ability to deliver more delicate work.
Thereafter the warehouse was visited, which consisted of both incoming raw materials and finished goods ready for delivery. Interesting was that trucks were (un)loaded manually and that there was a 5S warehouse plan, but still it felt a little chaotic. Finally the newly build DPL workshop was visited, which was build up in a very lean manufacturing way. Some workers had to do 10.000 quality checks a day, inspecting a DPL under three seconds for deficits! To conclude the morning activity there was some time organized to discuss the experiences with some of the PETEC employees during a delicious lunch!
After the lunch is groups were split in two and each had approximately 3 hours to solve a personal case focused on lean manufacturing. The question was to analyze a particular part of the factory, focus on one or two lean manufacturing themes and come up with some consult for nearby-future implementation. The two points of interest were:
- The warehouse
- One of the HID production lines
After three hours or walking around the factory, in official Philips shirts, and collecting information from the Philips employees, the groups had to present their findings to the management team. The results, which were inspired by former projects the students had done the past year, were received with enthusiasm by the management team. The visit was wrapped up by giving some traditional Dutch Caramellic Waffles and some other Dutch souvenirs as a present, to thank Philips for the interesting day in Malu!