Key lean manufacturing principles

For Mondi Syktyvkar these are not just words, it’s a strategic approach, a philosophy and a mindset of all company employees. It means that we are oriented on the client, and not only of the external one. The same principles are applied to communication within the company eliminate losses; set up right production processes; constantly search for solution of different level problems; endless training; decision making on the basis of long-term prospect, often at the expense of short-term profit.

  1. What is the main concept of lean production?

In the beginning of XX century management classic Frederick Taylor said: “Good management of operational works even with old equipment, is always better than bad management with new equipment”. In these words you can see the core of lean production concept. Nowadays under this term we mean conscious approach to company operation under which employees of all levels are involved into work improvement in all directions: from production and technologies to technical maintenance and administrative processes. Management of Mondi Syktyvkar (Syktyvkar Pulp and Paper Complex) involves specialists and workers into mill operation optimization, train them and supports standards aimed at total elimination of faults, dead times and accidents. Due to such goal-oriented approach we are able to settle improvements and make them a standard.

Lean production concept is fulfilled not only in Russia, it is applied by producers of different level all over the world. For example, Toyota works under the Kaizen principles, it translates from Japanese as “continuous improvement”. It doesn’t matter how the system of continuous improvement is called. The main idea is that in this case we optimally use our resources, so that with maximal speed and minimal expenses we can make a product of necessary quality.


  1. When this concept was introduced into Mondi Syktyvkar?


Within 50 years of existence (in June, 2019, the company celebrates its anniversary) in Mondi Syktyvkar were fulfilled many separate successful projects on production processes improvement: from large modernizations to the projects of performance increase and expenses cut, like “New view” and “Ready for victory”.

In the beginning of 2015 company management decided to implement united approach towards improvements. At the same time was created the Service of Business Improvement that responded for implementation of lean production concept at the mill. Its work has two directions: increase of operational efficiency (here it’s necessary to note projects “1000+, “New life of paper-making machine-14” , increase of work efficiency for paper-making machine-21 and VOTS) and cross-functional projects (optimization of internal logistics and storage, reduction of circulating capital, technical documents, 5S and others). Specialists of all units production, technologies, technical maintenance, supportive functions – work on that improvements using standard tools and common methodology: “Plan. Do. Check. Influence”.

  1. What are the main principles of lean production?

Employees of Mondi Syktyvkar determined for themselves the main principles of lean production:

  1. Minimal losses. We try and eliminate all types of losses to get maximum of actions that add value to our products.
  2. Standardization. We follow the best practices of all known: “Write down what you do. Do what you’ve written down. Remember: standard is temporary until you won’t find better variant of work”.
  3. Transparency. We visualize our current achievements. In this case if we decline from standards and problem solution stages we can easily see it.
  4. Constant development. We don’t stop at achieved results, we act, understanding that any process can be improved and led to a new standard through daily involvement of all employees’ of the manufacture.


  1. How does the Mondi Syktyvkar Service of Business Improvement organize its work on lean production implementation?

  • Step 1. Preparation. Any project aimed at improvement starts with training of the key employees of the corresponding unit. They are taught the common approach and set of tools. It’s important to start from that so that all specialists speak in one language and understand each other.
  • Step 2. Realization of organization system and rationalization of work place 5S. This tool encourages involvement into the project from all employees of the unit.
  • Step 3. Data analysis and determination of current problems. We take real indicators of automation system, gather data at production, and then carry out analysis of declines and determine new focus zones for improvements.
  • Step 4. Determine goals of sub-projects. We set priorities for further work, form working groups within sub-projects, make clear plan and determine under which KPI (key performance indicators) we will monitor improvements.
  • Step 5. Analysis of core reasons. We carry out brain storms with unit personnel to determine the main reasons why KPI are not met with the help of “5 why”, Ishikava diagram and other tools. Employees of the Service of Business Improvement work at the production, they don’t sit in the meeting rooms.
  • Step 6. Create activity plans and fulfill them.
  • Step 7. Check efficiency of implemented improvements. Results of projects are checked, it helps to make improvements stable. As a result of tests we develop regulations of work. Service of Business Improvement controls that they are followed.


  1. What success did Mondi Syktyvkar reach in the lean production implementation?

Within the last years the Service of Business Improvement of Mondi Syktyvkar fulfilled many successful projects that helped to increase business efficiency and increase profit. As a result of 2018, Mondi Syktyvkar earnings exceeded 65,832 bln rub, which is 19,8% more than result of 2017.  Profit on sales increased on 38,1% to 23,94 bln rub and pure profit reached 19,015 bln rub which is 46% more than in 2017.

One of the first significant projects of the Service of Business Improvement in 2015 became the project “1000+” that increased performance of format sheet paper cutting unit. It was called the best among 18 projects that applied to be the project of production efficiency improvement within the First Russian Congress “Duplication of performance: from words to action”, carried out in 2016 in Nizhniy Novgorod. The goal of the project was to issue product in amount of not less than 1000 ton per day on a stable basis.  

Efficient implementation of lean production at the mill gave the enterprise an opportunity to increase average daily performance, fulfill strategic project of modernization of water and waste treatment facilities that lasted 5 years and cost about 65 mln euros, increase production of A4 and A3 office paper volume, and also set up release of new sort of office paper called Communicator Basic aimed for laser printing, but also efficiently applied for inkjet printers, copying and faxing.

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