Steve Chicken, manufacturing growth director at EEF is running the new programme at the Aston-based facility to teach SMEs about the valuable ways lean can help businesses.

The cost of a dedicated lean academy has put this technique out of reach for many mid-sized and SME manufacturers, but EEF’s new hopes to help level the playing field. The facility will allow smaller companies to learn methods to boost their efficiency and growth – without the hefty outlay and in a

EEF’s new 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 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. way that guarantees sustainability and immediate gains.

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 3-pin plugs.

The new Academy can be run at an individual company’s premises or at EEF’s state-of-the-art technical training centre in Aston, near Birmingham.

Dr Steve Chicken says: “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.”

Apprentices and EEF staff work with the lean learners.

The LMJ staff spent the day there to experience this course. 12 days condensed in to 45-minutes. Being aided by the EEF training academy’s young apprentices, classes see the construction of a simple flat plan trolley-first of all un-leaned, and under a strict timescale it inevitably ends in mistakes and missed deadlines.

After the process is being leaned, students experience the vast improvement. Constructing a trolley under a struct timeline, with the same tools? Easy.