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Italian SMEs adopt “lean production” for food

The new method to enhance competitiveness, productivity and effectiveness

Italian SMEs adopt “lean production” for food

Claudia Astarita

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Lean production has eventually become a priority for the food sector as well. The best models were presented at Expo 2015 recalling the event central themes, such as tackling food waste and sustainability.

The main protagonist was the Confindustria, the leading organization representing industries in Italy, Club of 15, implementing the Toyota model based on the reduction of production time, stocks diminution and quality improvement.

The results deriving from the adoption of the above-mentioned method were quite significant for a number of companies. For instance, Roncadin, a company specialized in producing frozen pizzas, was able to make 900 more "items" per year. The director of production, Alberto Urli, explained to the Italian Daily Il Sole 24 Ore that the company "achieved a sale record of 80 million Euros, increasing exports thanks to a significant time reduction, i.e. from two weeks to two days".

Another notable testimony is the one of Electrolux Professional, producing Hi-tech kitchens for hotels and cafés. Michele Cadamuro, the design director of the company, openly declared that thanks to the lean production model, they were able to do in three days what they normally did in 20.

Of course, the achievement of these results requires some important efforts in terms of global adjustments, machines and modernization of the whole company, but it definitely seems worth it.

Lean production was also adopted in the wine sector, where wine producers Cielo e Terra was able get a 17% increase in its turnover, tripling the profits margin, as stated by the financial director Giampiero Povolo.

The aforementioned examples are only some within the broad panorama of Italian small and medium enterprises, which have adopted lean production. The latter became a powerful tool to enhance competitiveness in a global market where distances do not seem to matter anymore. As a result, the only way for companies to survive is to be effective, able to adjust quickly and to reduce production costs. For these reasons, lean production represents a winning card to play.

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