TXM Managing Director, Tim McLean, is passionate about manufacturing in Australia. This passion and the poor media coverage the industry has received this year inspired Tim to establish a new blog on Linked In focused on creating an informed discussion on Australia’s Manufacturing Future.

Although only established for two months, the Linked In Group Australian Manufacturing Futures has already attracted a large following of experienced manufacturing experts including senior managers from both private companies and major corporates, members of industry groups and government professionals.

The aim of the group is to broaden the discussion on manufacturing in Australia from the simplistic views expressed in the media and by politicians. Media coverage and debate on manufacturing in Australia has been largely reduced to “manufacturing in Australian is the Auto Industry and it has no future”. To those of us who have worked in the industry all our careers this is completely wrong and ignores huge diversity of our manufacturing and its ability to innovate and create jobs in Australian cities – where they are needed. We can not rely on mining alone, it employs a limited number of people in remote areas away from where Australians live and is highly cyclical. Likewise many of our service industries rely on manufacturing as a creator of wealth to fund hospitals, schools and public services as well as support the business of service industries such as banking, recruitment, and wholesaling. Manufacturing is vital for Australia, but talk of a “restructuring” of the Australian economy indicates that the political and economic elites in this country have accepted its inevitable and irreversible decline. By contrast other major western economies such as Germany, Sweden, Canada and Japan have large export driven manufacturing sectors. We as professionals in manufacturing need to start discussing concrete positive solutions based on our experience and see whether we can get a more nuanced and intelligent debate and better policy for the industry we all love.

Join the Australian Manufacturing Futures Group On Linked In

You can also join a Linked in group to keep up to date with Lean Thinking from TXM.

Join our Total Excellence in Manufacturing Group on Linked In

TXM Stand at the Austech 2012 Exhibition. The Austech Show in Sydney in May was our most successful ever

The end of June is the end of TXM’s financial year and saw the conclusion of the best every year for our 8 year old lean consulting business. The TXM business grew by over 50% in Australia, while our China business established a strong base for further growth in 2013.

TXM is now leaders in lean in Australia. The last financial year also see us establish ourselves in New Zealand and build relationships with some of the world’s leading companies including McDonalds, Kimberley Clark Corporation, Labelmakers, Chep, Atco, Lyondell Basell and Fresenius Kabi as well as some great innovative Australian private companies including Ronson Gears, Rode Microphones, RF Industries and Houston’s Farm.

Our consulting team in Australia expanded with Robert Chittenden and Ron Spiteri joining our permanent team and Darran Allen joining TXM in New Zealand.

TXM also now has offices in Brisbane and Sydney as well as our head office in Collingwood in Melbourne and our office in Shanghai.

In China we further grew our business, establishing successful relationships with Sony, Yves Rocher, Funwick Manufacturing and Detmold Packaging. We built our presence through active involvement in the ISPE Annual Conference and the Lean Enterprise China and built our team with Justin Tao joining us in mid 2011 and recruitment underway for further team members.

Next financial year promises to be just as exciting. Look out for new team members and a new look for TXM.

TXM will be a major sponsor of the upcoming Lean Enterprise China Global Conference in Shanghai on June 6-8. TXM will be the sponsor of the conference dinner. TXM Consulting Director, Anthony Clyne will also be visiting China to attend the conference and will participate in a panel discussion with Professor Takahiro Fujimoto from Tokyo University on the challenges of implementing lean in China.

The conference is the premier lean learning event in China for the year. It will include a range of international and Chinese speakers including Chuck Carlton from Underwriters Laboratories who will run workshops on Lean Office, Professor Fujimoto and case studies from Ingersoll Rand, China Aluminium and CIMC.

TXM’s sponsorship reflects our close ongoing relationship with the Lean Enteprise Institute. TXM Senior China Consultant, Justin Tao, has assisted in translating many well known lean texts in to Chinese for Lean Enterprise China. TXM Consulting Director, Anthony Clyne and Senior Associate, Tony McNaughton have have had long relationships with Lean Enterprise Australia.

Read Case Studies about TXM’s Work in China

The Austech 2012 and National Manufacturing Week 2012 Exhibition at the Sydney Olympic Park was another outstanding success for TXM. We got the chance to meet leaders from over 120 companies across Australia and New Zealand and learn about the challenges that they are facing in their operations today. As always there was a strong interest in the lean manufacturing solutions that TXM can offer manufacturers large and small in order to reduce lead time, increase productivity, improve plant layout and engage the operations team in continuous improvement. The overall feedback from the show was that times are very very tough for manufacturers in Australia at the moment with the high Australian dollar combining with tight credit and increasing costs, especially for energy. Implementing Lean Manufacturing offers a cost effective way to recover competitiveness without the capital costs, debt and risks involved in automation or other capital investment. Our mantra at Austech 2012 is make the most out of what you have already got. This seemed to ring true with many Austech visitors and the TXM team, especially our NSW and Queensland Consultant, Ron Spiteri,  expect to be meeting with and working with many of them for the rest of 2012.

TXM would specially like to thank our valued customers, Sykes Racing, Rosebank Engineering, Branach Manufacturing and Hilton Manufacturing who contributed their company names, their stories and their videos to the case study video that featured on our stand throughout the show.

Another feature of TXM’s Austech 2012 was our active engagement on Twitter. TXM Managing Director, Tim McLean tweeted throughout the show making TXM one of the most followed stands at Austech. Follow @TXMLean on Twitter to hear more.

The TXM Team Talk Lean Manufacturing with Austech 2012 Visitors on our stand.

TXM is pleased to announce the recruitment of Ron Spiteri to the TXM team. Ron will support clients in New South Wales and Queensland, providing TXM will a permanent presence in both of these markets and signalling our arrival as a national business.

Ron has had an outstanding career working with some of the worlds most respected companies, notably Boeing and United Technologies Corporation (UTC). In both businesses Ron was coached in lean by respected Japanese Toyota Sensei and as a result Ron has an excellent understanding of Lean Manufacturing. However, like the rest of the TXM team, Ron combines this lean knowledge with a wealth of practical business experience in manufacturing and industrial services. At Boeing, Ron held roles encompassing product design, customer support (in Boeing Seattle), project management and manufacturing. At Boeing, Ron ultimately led Boeing’s sophisticated composites manufacturing in Sydney and Melbourne. At UTC Fire and Security Ron lead the implementation of UTC’s globally recognised Achieving Competitive Excellence lean program across Chubb Fire and Security, driving a dramatic change in the culture of that organisation. Ron then moved back in to line management with Spectrum Fire, firstly as the New South Wales Service Manager and then the General Manager of the Queensland business, before deciding to pursue his passion for lean manufacturing and improvement by joining TXM.

Ron is already making an impact for TXM clients including Atco Structures and Logistics, Kimberley Clark Professional and Chep as well as bringing process excellence to outstanding medium sized manufacturers including McNaught and Hilton Manufacturing.

As a sign of TXM’s commitment to the pharmaceutical industry, three of the TXM team attended the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers (ISPE) China Conference in Beijing on April 16-17. Like all ISPE Conferences this one was well organized, well attended and had a very high quality content.

Strict GMP gowning requirements can make shop floor kaizen challenging, but the discipline of GMP controls support Standard Work.

The major focus for pharmaceutical manufacturers in China right now, particularly Chinese companies, is GMP compliance. GMP standards in China are quickly catching up with global best practice and many presenters talked about the challenges of implementing GMP in China. Many would think that GMP rules, with their requirements for product isolation, gowning rules and inspection are inconsistent and hard to reconcile with lean manufacturing approaches. Our view is that the opposite is the case and that clashes between the requirements of lean manufacturing and GMP rarely occur. Andreas Bahne from Boehringer-Ingelheim reinforced the synergies between lean manufacturing and GMP in his presentation. Andreas has lead the Boehringer-Ingelheim team who have applied lean principles right from the start of the design process in their new packaging facility at their Pudong, Shanghai plant. Specifically Andreas compared lean and GMP Objectives. Lean manufacturing aims to eliminate non-value adding activities, while GMP applies controls to ensure the delivery of safe medicines. Both share an overarching goal of controlling the manufacturing environment. Lean tool such as standard work, 5s, simplified flow and PDCA problem solving support both the elimination of waste and the elimination of risk and therefore enhances lean. In fact Andreas pointed to specific clauses in the GMP rules that encourage lean manufacturing approaches.

One of the international keynote speakers, Lars Bang from Lundberg Pharmaceuticals told a great story about how lean manufacturing has transferred Lundberg. Lars explained how the lean manufacturing program matured over three years and three phases. Initially Lundberg looked to tools to transform processes. It was then necessary to fully engage leaders in applying lean approaches and demonstrating lean behaviours. Finally Lundberg have focused on engaging all employees. Employees now generate at least 30 ideas per year and are empowered to implement many of their own ideas. As a result Lundberg have almost doubled productivity across the business and cut the cost of good sold from 25% to 20% allowing the business in invest the savings in R&D to develop new medicines.

In some ways the most interesting lean presentation at the conference was not badged as “lean manufacturing” at all. Gordon Muirhead, Technical Director for Glaxo Smith Kline explained GSK’s development of continuous manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. This is effectively going from batch to one piece flow production where product is manufactured in small 1kg “plugs” that flow in a continuous stream through dispensing, granulation, drying, blending and compression. Control of this process is highly complex and GSK have formed a partnership with the McLaren Formula One team to share knowledge about he processing of data. As Gordon told me, in manufacturing we are happy if we process production data and act on it in a day – in Formula One they need to analyse car performance data and take action by the next lap of the track! The result of this continous approach is a dramatic reduction in plant footprint and large increases in productivity and reductions in waste. From a lean manufacturing perspective, it challenges the notion that ‘one piece flow” is not possible in traditional batch process manufacturing.

We are looking forward to the next ISPE Conference and continuing to promote lean manufacturing in this vital and growing industry in China and the Asian region.

Learn what Formula One Can Teach us About Continuous Improvement

TXM presents about Lean for a GMP Environment in China

TXM Consulting Director Anthony Clyne tosses the coin while St Kilda and Geelong Captains and the umpire look on

TXM Consulting Director, Anthony Clyne, kicked off the 2012 AFL Season for St Kilda by tossing the coin at the start of their NAB Cup Pre-season game against Geelong. Anthony had the chance to talk to St Kilda Captain, Brendon Goddard and explain to him the finer points of Lean Manufacturing. Brendan was particularly interested in the seven wastes, and could see opportunities to reduce waiting times during AFL games by eliminating ad breaks and time wasting by umpires.

Anthony offered to facilitate a brief session on lean principles and particularly, the Four Rules of Toyota, in the team rooms before the game. Unfortunately new St Kilda Coach, Scott Watters turned down this offer, preferring to focus on football tactics and motivational talks instead.

Nevertheless Anthony greatly enjoyed the experience of tossing the coin to get the game underway and is looking forward to an exciting 2012 season (or would be looking forward to an exciting 2012 season if he didn’t follow St Kilda)

“VIsual Control” of ingredients have made this Baker’s job easier and more efficient

TXM Director, Tim McLean will be a keynote speaker at the 2012 Baking Industry Easter in the Food Bowl Event in Shepparton in Central Victoria, Australia on 25 February. Tim will share some of TXM’s experience in applying Lean Manufacturing in the baking industry. TXM has considerable experience at implementing lean manufacturing in the food industry and a long relationship with the Baking Industry through the Baking Industry Association of Victoria (BIAV), who have organised this event.

To find out more about this event go to the BIAV website 

View a Case Study of TXM Lean Manufacturing implementation in a Bakery

TXM Director, Tim McLean was one of the speakers at the 4th Supply Chain Management Conference in Sydney on 5 December 2011. Tim spoke provided the audience of Senior Supply Chain professionals with practical lean supply chain solutions to optimise  global supply chains and presented case studies that demonstrated how these concepts could be applied.

Tim then engaged the audience in a new simulation game that demonstrated the difference between traditional, purely forecast driven replenishment and lean supply chain approaches in extended supply chains. The simulation clearly demonstrates how using lean approaches can reduce lead time, reduce inventory and improve customer on-time delivery in extended supply chains. In particular it shows how increasing replenishment frequency and using an “every part every shipment” approach can dramatically reduce supply chain risk without adding logistics cost.

To learn more about applying lean in the extended supply chain, look at the the following articles and case studies:

TXM Director, Tim McLean has a busy week in China in late November. Tim is discussing the challenges that Chinese Manufacturing operations are increasingly facing with rising costs. Labour costs are rising by 20% per year, the exchange rate is slowly rising and other costs such as energy, land and construction are on the way up. Many Chinese factories have much room for improvement, however. Tim discussed these challenges and how to respond in a recent articles:

Now Tim will present in person TXM research in to the cost problem and potential solutions for businesses manufacturing and sourcing a wide range of goods in China.
Tim’s presentations will include: