Russian award for manufacturing excellence named after A. K. Gastev

In any country, if you can present Lean as the continuation of the work of local pioneers, it is easier to implement than as a wholly alien concept. Lean’s debt to Ford, Taylor, Gilbreth, the TWI program, and others is acknowledged in Japan, which makes the connection easy to make in the US. In Russia, it was more of a challenge.

At OrgProm in 2008, Mikel Wader first told me about Gastev, who was by then so obscure that his books had not been reprinted in 40 years and it took months for OrgProm’s Julia Klimova to locate copies for me. A quick look at Gastev’s works then convinced me that he was indeed someone Russians could look up to as a precursor to Lean. Alexey Kapitonovitch Gastev (1882-1939) was the father of industrial engineering in Russia, creator of the Central Institute of Labor in Moscow in 1920, author of How Work Must be Done (Как надо работать) and Worker Training (Трудовые установки).  Through an example,  Figure 1 illustrates his thinking. His career was cut short when the government shot him as a “counter-revolutionary” in 1939.

Figure 1. Gastev’s sketch of multiple phases of improvement on a tube piercing operation

In 2008, OrgProm was already making efforts to naturalize Lean for Russia, for example by using the graphic style of soviet-era posters in illustrations of 5S. In the same spirit, I thought that establishing a “Gastev Prize” for manufacturing excellence would also make sense and suggested it. OrgProm followed up, and I was pleased this morning to receive the following notice from Omsk University’s Konstantin Novikov:

Gasteva Cup – a public initiative, Interregional Public Movement “Lin-Forum. Professionals lean manufacturing. “It lies in the organization and conduct of national competition efficiency of production systems among the leading companies. Companies may be nominated for the award and the Cup as Gasteva program effectiveness and individual projects. Results evaluates expert group, consisting of the most respected and experienced expert consultants on operational efficiency and top managers of successful companies. The award ceremony will be held Gasteva Cup on November 15-18 at the VI Forum “Development of production systems” (up to 2011 – Russian Lin forum “Lean Russia”).