NLI is an initiative sponsored by Nyenrode University (the Netherlands) in partnership with ABN AMRO, Achmea, and McKinsey. The goal of the partnership is to encourage innovation and excellence in organizations through the development, training, and application of the lean management philosophy. All levels of an organization, from the frontline staff to the board, can gain lean experience in this cutting-edge training facility on the Nyenrode campus.
The NLI center includes a Model Factory and a Model Office that allow participants to apply lean techniques to assembly and support functions in realistic settings.
In addition to serving as a training facility, the NLI center functions as a knowledge center, allowing national and international organizations, as well as academic institutions, to share and develop new insights about lean management and productivity. Among other specialized topics, researchers have investigated the application of lean techniques to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to IT, and to technology functions. All research initiatives are set up as industrial partnerships in which interested companies collaborate on the financing and exploration of certain topics.
NLI Lean Manufacturing Model Factory
In the Model Factory, the operators are actors (part of the Model Factory staff) who wear dustcoats. They work together in an assembly-line setting, with an array of drills and trays of screws and nuts, assembling a pneumatic cylinder. The smooth functioning of each operator's workflow relies on the previous and subsequent actions of other operators.
When participants begin training, we show them the Model Factory's "current state" – in other words, how the processes currently work. Then we ask them to contribute their ideas for improving operator efficiency and optimizing processes. At the end of the day, we can show the "future state" – how productivity and the way of working for every single operator improved after lean has been applied.
NLI Lean Model Office
At the NLI Lean Model Office, participants see and experience how lean principles can be applied to banking and insurance functions. Teams, departments, and business units will become familiar with lean tools and techniques and apply this way of working to function more effectively and efficiently.
As a result, the needs of external and internal customers are served as well as possible, as fast as possible, and at the lowest cost. Another aim of integrating this way of working is continuous improvement of the whole organization.