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The Japanese and the Italian cultures coming together for excellence
Daikin Applied Europe, other than being Daikin’s Headquarter for the development and the manufacturing of Air Conditioning and Ventilation technologies for commercial application, is also a perfect example of how Daikin’s manufacturing plants around the world embrace the group’s culture. But there is more to that. Daikin Applied Europe perfectly blends the flexibility of the Italian manufacturing and the excellence Daikin and the Japanese industry are known for.
The LEAN manufacturing
The LEAN Manufacturing started Japan and is an approach the Daikin Group made his own, requiring all the manufacturing sites in the group to adapt to this philosophy.
It is a manufacturing management approach that aims at constantly minimizing waste and make the whole manufacturing process as efficient as possible. So, it is a philosophy aiming to bring the company to the highest level of excellence, building an efficient and effective organization that allows to produce a product or service by optimizing resources.
At Daikin Applied Europe, this philosophy – together with the inherent flexibility of the Italian manufacturing – has led to a lean and winning approach, especially in a market where each product is tailor-made for the end customer.
More about the LEAN philosophy
So, the LEAN approach is a 360° approach involving all aspects related to the product, from the design and the manufacturing processes to the quality tests. This requires an involvement of all company’s functions, so manufacturing processes can be less complex and waste in all forms can be avoided.
This means the manufacturing process will only include activities that will produce value, and production lines will be organized in a way that will help operators using their time and energies in the most efficient way. But this also means that all the processes will be designed to ensure absolute quality, punctual delivery and to minimize the impact on the environment minimizing the production of waste.
The Japanese word Kaizen means constant improvement. It refers to an economic practice that aims at improving the production efficiency through the development of Management Systems aiming at containing production cost.
As a practice, it is strictly related to the LEAN approach. The Kaizen strategy is that of constant improvement, step by step, day after day. The involvement of every single person in the process is at the basis of this constant improvement. It encourages every single person involved in the process to make small changes and adjustments on a daily basis, with the idea that the sum of every small improvement will lead to a greater improvement for the whole company.
Of course, accountability is fundamental, just like the ability to look for possible improvements even when everything goes according to plan. This is the kind of mindset that helps pushing the limits and make improvement happen.
Here at Daikin Applied Europe
The LEAN and Kaizen approaches have been successfully used at Daikin Applied Europe for years now. Those approaches, together with the ability of the Italian manufacturing to be very flexible, have made Daikin Applied Europe’s chillers manufacturing plant a landmark in the HVAC sector.
The same approaches have been recently introduced at Daikin Applied Europe’s AHU manufacturing plant in Milan with great success, instantly producing substantial improvements that are leading to increased efficiency on the production lines, increased safety for the operators, increased quality and low production of waste during the production process, resulting in a minimized impact on the environment.
The Kaizen approach is constantly promoted in the company. That happens in different ways, and the most common is probably the use of games to put operators and supervisors in competition to find solutions to possible problems and make improvements. These activities take place both at a company level and at a group level. An example of that is the Daikin Global Skill Competition, which awards Daikin personnel for manufacturing skills in different categories (brazing, welding, finishing, mechanical maintenance, coating, etc…). These are all activities aimed at pushing constant improvement and are also supported by constant training, like the braze-soldering training at Daikin Applied Europe, to provide people with the tools to compete and make a positive impact on the company.
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