SA's growing Lean community makes summit a success

January 2008 News

The recent Lean summit Africa has spearheaded the formation of the Lean Enterprise Africa (LEA), which will facilitate the sharing of knowledge and expertise in Lean thinking. Originally developed by Toyota as an assembly-line manufacturing methodology, the goal of Lean thinking is described as 'getting the right things to the right place at the right time, the first time, through continuous improvement aimed at eliminating waste.'

Conference chair professor Norman Faull of the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business elaborates, "Through the formation of LEA we are aiming to create a growing community of people skilled in Lean management tools."

Faull believes that there is vast potential in South Africa for the Lean approach, and that LEA will make the power of Lean accessible to organisations across the spectrum of South African industry. "Lean tools can have a tremendous impact, not only for businesses but also for government. The healthcare industry, for example, is under pressure to operate more efficiently with reduced budgets, and could reap the benefits of Lean thinking," he says.

Lean Summit Africa lead sponsor, De Beers Consolidated Mines, began implementing Lean principles and philosophies in the organisation more than two years ago. MD David Noko said in his opening address at the event that Lean tools were being used to transform the core culture of De Beers Consolidated Mines, but could also play a role in transforming South Africa by increasing its competitiveness in the global arena.

More than 350 delegates attended the Lean Summit Africa at Cape Town's International Convention Centre, and plans are underway to make the conference an annual one.

For more information contact Wendy Zipp, Express Communications, +27 (0)11 452 3071,

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