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November 12, 2009

Russian Lean Forum

I attended the Russian Lean Forum in Moscow this week organised by Orgprom. Brian Maskell and I delivered a session on lean accounting to 70 interested Russians from a wider range of businesses, and we participated in several of other sessions. Over 200 people attended the forum from 100 companies – there were only three foreigners there including Brian and I !.

One of the highlights for me, was Kamaz, the largest truck manufacturer in the Russian Federation. They have set the goal of increasing productivity by 160% in five years, and have trained all 47,000 employees in lean tools. Already the project has had a financial impact of 2.7 billion roubles ($90m) with a massive reduction in inventory and space required. A SMED project on a large press reduced changeover time from 20 hours to 20 minutes !

Sberbank is Russia’s largest bank with 270,000 employees in 25,000 branches in 18 territories across 10 time zones. It has created 40 model lean branches which are 4 times more efficient than the traditional branches, and attracting much new business. In five to ten years the whole bank will have converted to lean and will represent a global challenge to international banks.

Surveys in Russia, suggest that only 2% of businesses are working on lean at present, but in such a large country that is still a lot of businesses. Lean is moving up the agenda there, if you don’t move it up your agenda you may face serious competition from Russia in the coming years. Now is the time to move on lean before it’s too late.