Cape Town will host two much-anticipated business conferences. The Lean Summit Africa 2008 follows on from last year’s successful event, which was Africa’s first Lean Management Conference in more than six years. It will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (ICC) on 16 October, with a full day of workshops at the UCT Graduate School of Business the preceding day (15 October). The following day (17 October), SAPICS (The Association for Operations Management of Southern Africa) will host its 2008 Summer Conference, also at Cape Town’s ICC. The aim of the Lean Summit, is to increase the African business community’s knowledge of Lean tools, and promote the adoption of Lean as a means of improving product and service delivery while reducing costs, comments conference chair, Professor Norman Faull or the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. “Initially developed by Toyota, for the automotive industry, Lean management is now forging ahead globally in areas as diverse as healthcare and mining,” he states. Its goal is described as "to get the right things to the right place at the right time, the first time, while minimizing waste and being open to change". “Lean in Healthcare” is one of the exceptional presentations planned for the Lean Summit Africa 2008. Dr Tony Booysen of Lean Management Consulting, South Africa, will discuss the application of Lean philosophies and tools to improve public sector healthcare service delivery. “Since September 2007 Lean Management Consulting has partnered with the Metropole District Health Services in the Western Cape with the primary aim of improving service delivery at the primary healthcare level, specifically reducing the average lead time for patient visits within primary healthcare facilities,” Booysen explains. “As a rule of thumb, a target of 50% reduction in lead times has been applied to all work areas. To date, this target has been achieved or surpassed within all working areas.” Renowned international speakers Nancy Wendorf and Kien Leong fly in from the USA and China respectively to head up an outstanding programme for the SAPICS Summer Conference. Technical support expert Wendorf believes that businesses who think the right price, delivery and warranty are enough to guarantee their longevity are at risk of having their market share “die out” like the dinosaurs. “Just when everything in the competitive world seems to be dangerously the same from a ‘value chain perspective’, we must quickly figure out ways to provide better, quicker support services than our competition to avoid market share ‘Darwinism’,” she states Wendorf, who is senior project manager with General Dynamics C4 Systems (Information Assurance Division, Secure Voice and Data Products) in the USA, will be back in South Africa by popular demand, having previously won the “Best Speaker” Award at the SAPICS Annual Conference. She has managed highly visible technical support groups, including the Canadian military message handling systems for the Network Applications Services.
Kien Leong is general manager for JCIT Asia Pacific. Consulting, Training, Project and Account Management. His keynote presentation is entitled: “Lean versus Agile Manufacturing: How to Thrive in Uncertain Times”.
“Lean manufacturing tells us to eliminate waste and reduce inventory. This makes sense in a stable, developed market,” Leong contends. “In the developing world, things are very different. Manufacturers can experience unprecedented growth, yet economic development is highly unstable. Infrastructure and labour resources are unpredictable, the supply-base often unreliable. High interest and hurdle rates place an expensive premium on developing market risk.