EEF launches lean academy for SME manufacturers

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Manufacturers' organisation EEF is launching a lean academy for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

According to the EEF, the cost of a dedicated lean academy had put this world-class technique out of reach for many mid-sized and SME manufacturers, but its academy would level the playing field. "It will allow smaller companies to learn 'game-changing' methods to boost their efficiency and growth – without the hefty outlay and in a way that guarantees sustainability and immediate gains."

The academy is built around a full-scale, configurable and transportable modular assembly line, which can be reconfigured daily to challenge a company's employees as they work through a 12-day programme.

"This," said EEF, "makes the exercises real-to-life and relevant to the individual business. The content of the academy is bespoke, making it even easier for employees to apply the techniques successfully in their workplace.

"It also overcomes a key criticism of previous attempts to provide lean academy training to mid-sized and SME manufacturers, which is that practical exercises were limited to desk-top scale using Lego or three-pin plugs."

The new academy can be run at an individual company's premises or at EEF's technical training centre in Aston, near Birmingham.

Dr Steve Chicken, manufacturing growth director at EEF, said: "This is a vital step forward in giving mid-sized and SME manufacturers the same access to game-changing techniques to boost efficiency and growth as their larger peers.

"While recognising the potential to transform their business, for many smaller companies the cost of a dedicated lean academy is prohibitive while the desk-top versions are unrealistic and difficult to apply in the workplace. Our new academy solves both these issues and lifts the barriers preventing smaller manufacturers from taking full advantage of the opportunities presented by lean."