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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The ingredients of LEAN chocolate

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In January my partners at Axium Performance and I organised a visit (for one of our customers) to Mondelez in Strasburg.

Mondelez is a world leader in the production of chocolate, biscuits, sweets and other confectionery. The group is quoted on the US stock exchange and its presence in France numbers 5000 collaborators, distributed over 21 premises of which 16 are production premises.

France is one of the group’s fundamental growth platforms.

The success story of introducing the Lean concept into this company (which underwent a crisis towards the end of 2009) is an example of what can be achieved by the Lean approach if it is applied in a  professional way.

It is important to know that the Mondelez premises in Strasburg, at the end of 2009, came last in terms of industrial performance among the 23 European premises in the chocolate sector.

On this visit we were welcomed by the Lean Manager: Alexandre Bernard.

In the course of about 2 hours he explained, and showed us in the field, the approach followed to obtain the results that led to positive recognition by the parent company.

Today it’s at the top of the league!

What happened in these 4 years to achieve this level of performance?

Alexandre explained that in order to obtain these results it was necessary to adopt the following 5 concepts/ingredients:

  1. Obtain Total commitment from management.
  2. Consider Lean Manufacturing as a process and not as a project.
  3. Adopt the «Lean philosophy» and not merely its toolbox.
  4. The Lean concept is applied to the factory activities as a whole (SQCDME)
  5. The Lean concept cannot be pursued without investing!! (Financial and human resources…)

These principles were adopted in the course of introducing the Lean concept, other were inserted subsequently, and yet others with time and experience in the field.

How was the approach developed?

A certain number of decisions had to be made:

  • Establish a vision transversal to all the services and related to the objectives:

Safety, Quality, Cost, Delivery, Motivation, Environment.

  • Form the management committee for the Lean principles.
  • Form a staff dedicated to the application of the Lean concept.
  • Integrate the Lean language into company culture.

The main missions of the LEAN staff

  • Define a Continuous Improvement Roadmap.
  • Identify the opportunities for improving factory performances.
  • Create the sites (Management/Animation).
  • Develop LEAN culture.
  • Train people in the different methodologies.


More than 60 sites/micro-sites created since 2010 with the methodologies most suitable for improving each specific area.

5S, SIM, Kobetsu, SMED, MRP etc.

The activities were carried out with the aid of the consultancy company Axium Performance which gradually became less necessary. Today the dedicated staff are almost wholly autonomous and capable of carrying on the performance improvement process alone.

The results

Look at the graphs below. In the space of 4 years  all the key indicators have recorded an uncommon performance which would not have been possible without the Lean Manufacturing methodology.

Mini-key: ppt=percentage points; OEE=Overall Equipment Effectiveness;

GE = General Efficiency.

€/Kg= Price in Euros per Kilo of product

(figure: A performance sustained since 2009)


And are you ready for Lean Manufacturing ?

Mario Mason




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Read 13451 times Last modified on Saturday, 12 November 2016 12:23
Mario Mason

Mario Mason é un Consulente in Lean Manufacturing (Lean Coach, Kaizen Coach) di livello internazionale con + di 10 anni d'esperienza nel portare i propri clienti a raggiungere solidi miglioramenti di produttività in doppia cifra.