Lean Manufacturing Helps Motivated Mini Business Teams Meet One-Day Ahead Target


The Australian operation of specialist hearing aid manufacturer, Bernafon, was paying costly overtime to meet the expected 5-day turnaround from patient consultation to fitting. Management set a “one-day ahead” production target believing that if they could produce hearing aids with a consistent four-day turnaround they could guarantee five-day delivery, and gain competitive advantage from the one-day buffer.

Excellent Outcomes at a Glance

  • Quality: Quality errors reduced from 5% to 2%
  • Cost: 100% reduction in overtime
  • Delivery: Achieved a guaranteed 5-day turnaround and a consistent 4-day turnaround
  • Delivery: Achieved 100% DIFOT on repairs
  • Productivity: Improved by 20%
Corporate Partners worked with managers and team leaders to define what “one-day ahead” meant and to discuss mechanisms for motivating and enabling staff to deliver on this schedule. Using a suite of Lean Manufacturing tools they began. First they set up Mini Business Teams (a vital Lean Manufacturing tool) within the internal supply chain and created “customer-supplier” agreements between the teams that set expectations for quantity and time of delivery.

Next they worked with the Mini Business Teams to identify the root causes for failing to meet these expectations, and they planned activities for addressing the issues. Activities included implementing 5S, cross training staff, and producing hourly delivery graphs so all team members could measure progress.