A German prize for Lean in Automotive

The German Automotive Lean Production Awards 2011 were given at BMW World in Munich on 11/23, to Volkswagen in Bratislava , TRW in Koblenz, BMW in Leipzig and Landshut, Continental in Regensburg, and Behr in Mühlacker.

These awards have been given since 2005, based on studies conducted jointly by the German Automobil Produktion magazine and Agamus Consult. These studies are focused on the following questions:

  1. What are the success factors of Lean Production?
  2. Effectiveness and efficiency: how does the Lean methodology work?
  3. Goal of the Lean processes: What are the most important steps?
  4. Who uses Lean methods and strategies, and with what results in quality and costs?
  5. Thinking further: Lean Production as an integral part of the Lean Enterprise.
  6. How does Lean Production develop in Germany and Europe, and who is best in class?

Compared ot the Shingo Prize, the study questionnaire is more focused on tools and performance, and the first few questions are aimed at establishing that the candidate is in the automotive industry. The questionnaires are addressed to the managers responsible for Lean in production, logistics and development, as well as operations managers. A delegation of experts then visits the candidates selected based on the questionnaires. The involvement of one particular consulting firm in the organization of the award process  would in the US be viewed as a conflict of interest. The Shingo Prize is run out of Utah State University, and uses consultants from multiple firms in its audit teams.

The process by which these awards are given otherwise raises the same questions as for the Shingo Prize: how good are they as predictors  of superior long-term performance ?