Lean brings results in Portugal

May 17, 2017

Project work is a key element of all Valmet global training programs. Projects bring positive energy to all involved and act as a springboard for innovative thinking. In the Leading through Lean program, the value of the project work lies both in the project as well as in the potential to apply similar thinking and best practice to other parts of the business. A good example of this is in Ovar where one person’s attendance in the 2015 Lean program pilot sparked a Lean initiative locally that continues to build momentum today. 

New spirit and energy

In 2015 Luciano Amaral, the head of Valmet’s production facility in Ovar, Portugal, attended the two-week Leading through Lean pilot. Among the core topics covered in the program are Lean leadership, culture and KPIs – all themes intended to release the full potential of our organization by improving day-to-day processes.

“I was very glad to have had the opportunity to participate in Leading through Lean in the spring of 2015. It was a great training with nice and enthusiastic Valmet colleagues from around the world. My colleagues from Brazil and I even started a “competition” to see who could be the leanest in Valmet. We set big ambitions for ourselves and our teams and knew it would require a lot of hard work and inspiration to reach them,” explains Luciano.

The work to bring Lean to Ovar has proceeded systematically over the past two years with nine people participating in the global program, over 25 Lean projects kicking off, countless processes undergoing review, whiteboard meeting practices being introduced, and a Lean library being set up with resources in English and Portuguese. 

“We’re using Lean to change our ways of working, aiming to gradually create a Lean culture aligned with the company´s values and Must-Wins. We’re already seeing results with year-over-year improvements in safety, quality and profitability. On top of that, we can see people working more efficiently and are more engaged. Nowadays we can see the operational management being spread along the company and see several “alive” boards not only in production areas but also in the office,” Luciano explains.  

Lost time incident frequency 0 in 2016, down from 18.7 at the start of 2015

The best is yet to come

The results of the most recent engagement survey show the work with Lean is paying off in other ways too. Scores for the Quality & Process dimension increased by seven percentage points, bringing Portugal among Valmet’s highest scoring units in this area. 

“While we’ve made good progress we still have work to do to expand our Lean thinking. We’re about to run a two-part Lean series for our production teams with the aim of increasing our Lean knowledge base even further. When we get everyone employing Lean thinking every day, I’m confident our numbers will soar and the impact will be even more visible. I am very proud of the Ovar team, we have great people which together can win the challenges ahead of us,” Luciano concludes. 

Read the next story: Fast Forward project work leads to results 


We set big ambitions for ourselves and our teams and knew it would require a lot of hard work and inspiration to reach them.
Luciano Amaral