A case study in the introduction of lean training for employees.


Formed in 1955, and privately owned since 2000, ELE Advanced Technologies (ELE) located in Lancashire, specialises in non-conventional machining for aerospace and land based industrial gas turbines. They also produce precision components for the automotive industry.  Key customers include Rolls-Royce, Siemens and Alstom. UK operations currently employ 100 people on a 3.6 hectare site and their plant in Slovakia employs 50 people.

The Challenge

ELE wanted to engage their employees in the improvement process and to increase sustainability while at the same time giving their entire workforce an overview of the concepts and benefits of continuous improvement. Particular focus was required on one piece flow, smaller batch sizes, 5S and workplace organisation.

The Objectives

The aim of the Lean Awareness training was to give all employees an appreciation of the impact that lean tools and techniques have on profit and cash flow in the business.

The Industry Forum Solution

The Industry Forum training programme was facilitated through the use of the ‘Plug Production System’, a simulation activity designed for small teams that combines the practical application of lean tools and techniques with the theory behind it. Through ‘manufacturing trials’ within the game,  teams identified wastes such as poor flow, workplace organisation, material presentation and layout. The session also highlighted the connection between the teams’ performance and that of the external supplier, illustrating the need for the whole value stream to be able to achieve the target output rate and operate at  ‘Takt time’.

The Customer’s View

“We had a need for Lean training on waste reduction and the 7 types of waste and we approached various lean training providers for ideas on how to give a taster on lean thinking to the entire workforce. Over the course of two weeks, Industry Forum led the entire workforce through half day training sessions from which they gleaned an understanding of the 7 wastes, especially overproduction, excessive inventory, line balancing and defect reduction. To spice things up a little, a leaderboard of profits or losses incurred was collated, with the winning team receiving recognition!
I have no hesitation in using Industry Forum again and cannot fault the service we have received.”

Peter Calderbank, Operations Director, ELE Advanced Technologies

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