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How WinGD enables employees to recognize and eliminate waste in product development?


How WinGD enables employees to recognize and eliminate waste in product development?

Winterthur Gas & Diesel (WinGD), a Winterthur, Switzerland-based developer of 2-stroke low-speed Gas and Diesel engines used for propulsion power in merchant shipping, began its lean product development journey in 2011. Through its journey, the company learnt quickly and established best practices in several aspects of lean product development. Waste elimination is part of lean improvements and WinGD wants everybody in the company to understand what is waste and how to eliminate it through day-to-day activities.

In this post, you can learn how WinGD translated waste to the company language and made it understandable for every employee.

WinGD is a leading developer with a 20% market share of 2-stroke low-speed Gas and Diesel engines used for propulsion power in merchant shipping. These engines are utilized for the propulsion of all types of deep-sea ships worldwide, such as tankers, bulk carriers, car carriers, general cargo ships and container ships.

The company was previously known as Sulzer Diesel, a Swiss industrial engineering, and manufacturing firm established in 1834. WinGD is now a Joint Venture company between China State Shipbuilding Corporation (70%) and Wärtsilä (30%). The WinGD research center in Winterthur, Switzerland, focuses on the development of leading technologies for applications in new generation low-speed engines. WinGD engineers products to order, while manufacturing is made through a worldwide network of licensees.

Activities in product development can be divided in three main categories

  1. Value added activities (designing, interacting with customer to elicit his/her requirements,…)
  2. Necessary but non-value creating (support activities, handovers,…)
  3. Waster or non-value adding activities that are not necessary for the project (over-engineering, loopbacks,…)

Most organizations on lean product development journey (at different stages, though) look for waste in their processes to improve efficiency and reduce lead time. Since the Toyota principles in manufacturing, waste in product development has been categorized by many authors. The MIT paper (Oehmen & Rebentisch, 2010) (accessible here) describes types of waste in great detail, but also displays a table, showing how different authors define waste in product development.


Different Types of Waste in Lean Product Development of Selected Authors (Oehmen & Rebentisch, 2010)

For the company to efficiently eliminate waste, employees must understand what activities in their value stream are non-value adding and to do that, they must know what waste is. WinGD reached out to literature to identify what wastes are applicable in the company and translated the definitions to the organizations language enabling everybody to understand and recognize non-value adding activities and contribute with the elimination process.

They identified 8 waste categories (below) which were communicated to employees through lean classroom training.

Waste categories and definitions in WinGD

WingGD started to implement Value Stream Mapping to leverage employees’ knowledge and awareness about waste to streamline the processes. Through Value Stream Mapping workshops the organization started to show initiative and perform actions first by clearly defining the main delivery processes for After Sales

(Sales delivery, Service sales delivery) and R&D (drawings delivery, technology delivery, software delivery). Then they performed Value Stream Mapping in relation to those processes.  Actions to be taken to improve the current state and transform it to the future state were identified and followed up to increase the value added per  employee.



Some of Value Stream Maps created in WinGD: Current Software delivery VSM (top left), Past drawing delivery in product engineering VSM (top right), part VSM of drawing delivery in R&D (bottom right) and future design message process VSM (bottom left).

Book 2017 - Mockup 01 (small-900px)

WinGD Best Practices are presented and described on more than 25 pages in the Lean Product Development Best Practices book. WinGD chapter is only one out of the 10 chapters presenting the real-world application of lean product development in multinational companies.

The hard copy of the book with the 10 cases is available for only 74.99 EUR.


WinGD Lean Product Development case is available digitally free of charge to our members.


Interested to become a member?





Lean Analytics Association

Doroteja has 3 years of experience collaborating in Lean Product Development projects with a background in mechanical engineering and ultra-precision technologies. She has worked with global organizations from various industrial sectors, either leading or supporting the development and introduction of bespoke lean innovation and new product development solutions.

Doroteja is interested in innovation capability development and over the past years, she has developed several training courses to support organizations achieving quick and efficient knowledge transfer through customized simulated sessions. Being a certified Service Design Thinking Facilitator she believes in “Doing, not speaking” and supporting developments of truly customer-centric products and services.

Doroteja is a co-author of the Lean Product Development Best Practices book and conference publications.


Lean Analytics Association

Dr. Flores has over 20 years of experience collaborating as internal or external consultant in different manufacturing and services organizations, leading several initiatives related to Lean Thinking, Business Process improvement, Six Sigma, Supply Chain, Change Management, Open Innovation, Digital Transformation and Human Centered Service Design; providing also training and coaching.

She is co-founder and president of the Lean Analytics Association (LAA) and visiting scholar at the College of Management of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

She carried out her Post-doc at EPFL collaborating at the Lean Product and Process (LeanPPD) FP7 European project from 2009 to 2013. She completed her PhD in 2006 at the Politecnico di Milano studying Open Innovation Models to enable Industry-University collaboration for innovation. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Manufacturing Systems in 1999 and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Monterrey Tec (ITESM) in 1996.

Myrna Flores
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