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 Manufacturing Excellence Conference

Rapid developments in technology, advanced manufacturing and synergistic operating models are changing the way manufacturing companies operate, compete and succeed. With rising labour costs, lack of skilled workers and the removal of trade barriers, manufacturers should gear up their capabilities and enhance their competitiveness.

Ahead of the Manufacturing Excellence Conference, we spoke to Raj Santhana, Director of Manufacturing Excellence - Footwear, adidas Group Asia & Europe a speaker at the marcus evans conference taking place in Singapore on the 22nd & 24th August, 2016.

What three challenges are manufacturers currently facing? What are the best solutions to these challenges?

  • Most manufacturers do not have a solid strategic direction to combat inefficiency
  • The use of Industrial Engineers within the organization are limited to a small portion of tasks such as layouts and time study
  • Unable to visualize the hidden Non-Value Added processes because either the lack of training or it isn't a company culture

To solve it, simple approach to each one of these problems as it is.

  • An organizational approach to setup a strategic direction (task team).
  • Break out of the traditional IE duties and focus on Lean Manufacturing pillars and trainings, development in innovation & CI, introduction of automation, product engineering for smart industrialization and operational excellence for uninterrupted production, quality improvement and short interval management.
  • Proper focus on trainings related to VA & NVA for people on the shop floor

How is lean manufacturing playing a role in the manufacturing activity and productivity?
Lean manufacturing is a set of tools that are ever ready to be inducted and deployed into operations. The key is adapt a Lean culture within the organization then you will see a broader approach with everyone taking responsibility. Having the tools available and having the ability to use them is where most organizations fail. But once successful, you will see Lean Manufacturing exposing hidden cost within processes from minute processes to the overall operations.

What are some of the processes to achieve lean manufacturing?
Approach it like how you would approach any other project. First define the project, then project objectives, scope, qualification vehicle, team and roadmap. Then frequent follow-ups until you start seeing small achievements. At one point you should stop and access your achievements and should be able to quantify them into dollars & cents. But using project stages you can gradually increase the size and reach of your projects.

What type of economical challenges should a manufacturer be prepared for?
Market growth automatically drags alongside its cost of operations and manufacturers should be able to mobilize operations with ease and speed. Moving out and breaking into new markets are nothing new but there are so many big name players who wait and suffer inconsequence losses.

Can you share a successful case study with us about your experience throughout your career?
We at adidas Group recently introduced aSC (adidas Standard Cell) where the focus in on cell operations, less output, less resources used but higher equipment utilization, capable of introduction of automation but all with higher efficiency impact on operations. It took us almost 2 years to convince suppliers of our direction but once they saw the benefits we've moved 40% of production into cell operations and are on target to achieve 60% by the end of 2016. The move is to anticipate the increase in cost of operations as we have seen in our China and Indonesia markets.

About the event:
Manufacturing Excellence Conference gathers manufacturing industry leaders from all sectors for a thought provoking plenary sessions, expert presentations and with three different streams to choose from as we discuss manufacturing's hottest topics and challenges.
The conference aims to increase your ability to provide high quality, competitively priced products and services in the global market to gain higher profitability. Attendees will learn how to drastically shorten product development cycles, increase productivity growth, stimulate product and process innovation, and respond quickly to changing customer demands in order to reduce operational costs with optimal performance to ensure the greatest ROI. Also, explore new strategies to ensure that your operational capabilities are flexible and constantly adapting to the current market scenario to avoid loss in revenue and performance.

For more information on this event, please contact:
Sharon Chew at

About Raj Santhana, Director of Manufacturing Excellence - Footwear, adidas Group - Asia & Europe Raj is vibrant professional with vast expertise in turnkey conceptualization & execution of results driven Industrial Engineering activities. With almost 11 years of experience in Lean Manufacturing and implementing projects using highly creative and innovative methods in Operational Excellence, Productivity & Efficiency Management programs in the Semiconductor & the FMCG sectors. Having worked for major markets players such as Flextronics, Texas Instruments, Jabil, Continental Tyres & Bata Shoes, is currently leading the Manufacturing Excellence Team at Adidas Group to build a more robust Footwear manufacturing operations, cross-linking all functional teams and adidas Group global development & manufacturing partners primarily in Vietnam, Cambodia & Myanmar and also in other parts of Asia & Europe.

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