Lean PD Best Practices: Siemens Building Technologies
Siemens Building Technologies (BT) Division is one of the world’s leading companies in building automation, fire safety, and building security, with its headquarters in Zug, Switzerland. Siemens BT has offices in over 400 locations, 22 research and development sites and 8 manufacturing plants across the globe.
In order to retain their competitive position in the market and to improve efficiency, the company launched the Lean Product Development initiative in 2010 and has come a long way since then. This initiative was started by coaching pilot projects with the support of external lean consultants and then continued by Siemens internally.
Through their lean journey, Siemens Building Technologies established best practices in several aspects of Lean Product Development. In regards to their strategy, the plan was executed with the top management support focusing on developing lean competences on all their R&D staff. Their vision was to increase the awareness to motivate teams to apply lean principles and simple tools on their daily tasks. Training at all levels of the organization was carried out and key roles were defined to facilitate the application of tools and to energize teams.
Additionally, achieving cross-functional collaboration was one of the key targets. Therefore Obeya rooms reflecting the multi-project landscape were designed to review the progress of projects and solve challenging aspects with the team’s inputs; the facilitation was carried out by the R&D head. The mentor-mentee program was set up to enable knowledge sharing from experienced researchers to the younger generations to avoid the experts from becoming the bottlenecks of the projects.
R&D projects are supported by a well-defined toolbox and dedicated knowledge sharing platforms and spaces are available to display and discuss progress. Standard templates were designed to ensure projects, where lean is applied, are documented showing the before and after impact. Last but not least, Siemens believes in the power of continuous communication to align teams to their lean culture and to continuously engage them to be competitive.
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