Lean in Russia, Part 2


Here is the second part of my exchange with Slava Boltrukevich. He is the head of the Production Management Department at the Institute for Complex Strategic Studies, the leading publisher of Lean books in Russian (and the website is in Russian). Slava is also an assistant professor, teaching Lean in the Graduate School of Business Administration of Moscow State University

Mark: Is Lean a major factor in the Russian auto industry or factories? In which other industries?
Slava: As I have written in my previous message, lean has been widely used in the auto industry as well as in the metallurgy industry. The biggest domestic car producers are GAZ Group, AutoVAZ, and Severstal-Auto. GAZ was the pioneer in practicing lean, and they have a wide-spread use of lean techniques in almost all of their plants (over 20). AutoVAZ claims that they have built a new shop for producing their new model (“Kalina”) according to the lean principles. Severstal is mostly an assembler of cars from foreign producers (Chinese) and they have good results from people involvement in continuous improvement.

Metallurgy companies have come to understanding that lean can help to improve productivity, which is very difficult in process industries. All of them, RUSAL, Nornikel, Severstal and others are working with major consultant companies to implement lean techniques in their work

My personal perspective on this is controversial. From one side , it seems that owners have no doubts that lean is the tool they have to practice. The evidence is the millions of dollars for consultants, continuous push of their managers, personal attention and gemba visits. From the other side, it seems that top-management don't “buy it” fully just because they “do not go for a long journey”. It is a hard work with relatively no fast outcomes. So the success of lean implementation will depend on how top-managers will be committed to their business, and to lean approach.

BTW, a few days ago we have opened the first blog on production management in Russian www.leaninfo.ru. You may gave a link to it to your readers. It can be read with a Google Translator (link here).

Stay tuned for the 3rd and final part of our discussion.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

  1. Neutron Jerk says

    Seems like lack of long-term focus isn’t a uniquely American problem!!

  2. Vyacheslav says

    that is for sure! But good news is that small and medium-size companies are different. Those which has the owner and CEO in one person are ok with long-term focus. Thus when they have bought kaizen ideas, there is no problems with following these ideas any longer.

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