Historically, lean methodology has been limited to optimizing manufacturing and production processes. However, our new Lean Management Framework aims to improve efficiency across all the ways our people work, as well as in how product is manufactured, and uses philosophy of continuous improvement. This approach builds upon a foundation of excellence in lean manufacturing, and aims to create an optimized production process that reduces impacts, eliminates waste, and enables skilled and engaged workers to drive quality and productivity. This is achieved by actively including workers in problem solving and prevention, strategically led by managers who see value in an empowered workforce.
We believe this new approach is important and has unlimited potential. When used as a management tool, not simply a production tool, lean can unlock significant cost savings, quality improvements and lead time reductions for our suppliers.
In order to help suppliers understand our new approach, we provide training on lean principles and tactical guidance on implementing the principles in our suppliers’ facilities. The training focuses specifically on Human Resources Management and how to efficiently implement and manage their capabilities in health, safety and environment.
For many companies, Lean is just a tool. At Nike, we believe it is a way of working. In order to meet our sustainability and performance goals, we are working with our suppliers to implement Lean across the industry. We believe it will open the door to new opportunities for our suppliers to work more efficiently and improve productivity and capacity in their facilities.
In 2009, we established the Apparel Innovation Training Center in Sri Lanka with MAS, one of our strategic apparel suppliers.
The center uses a revolutionary approach to training workers on new ways of making apparel. It allows students to learn about the latest technology and develop new skills by practicing in a live production facility, rather than a classroom, over the course of a 12-week class. Since it was established, the training center has trained over 400 trainees from 50 different suppliers.
In 2016, we created a Local For Local program to share this model of training with other global apparel suppliers. Today, classes are offered in local languages in China, Vietnam, Mexico and Indonesia. Each class is still integrated with a host facility, ensuring that every student has the opportunity to practice the new skills they learn on a live production floor.
Additionally, new courses are being developed to ensure that the training continues to be relevant as we roll out new products, technologies and practices across our source base.