I always find turnaround stories interesting. While we often focus on the older AK rifles, there is a fascinating story about how Kalashnikov Concern modernized and developed world class capabilities. They produced the video that spurred me to write this post to share with you.
In the 1990s, Izhmash and Izhvesk were in tough shape. They were only using 10% of their capacity and government orders were reduced. By 2010, they were in a deep crisis. In 2012, the two groups were consolidated into the Kalashnikov Concern as part of RosTec — I’ll just say “Kalashnikov” going forward.
Kalashnikov leadership embarked on a large scale improvement journey leverage lean quality management concepts, CNC automation, and significant IT investments (ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning, MES – Manufacturing Execution System and WMS – warehouse management system are mentioned or briefly shown).
Kalashnikov wisely focused on their people — and I think this last part is key. They addressed a poor work environment with medical facilities, a cafeteria and training in modern methods. They even have a university that produces 300 graduates each year. Getting people to learn and change are always the hardest things to do yet also the most critical.
As a result, they improved productivity by 2.5 times, shrunk their time to market and removed a considerable amount of waste.
This video is a few years old but is a fascinating 8 minute journey starting with their origins through their turn around story. There are a lot of photos of CNC systems, brightly lit and clean factory areas, the warehouse, class rooms and more. It’s very impressive.
If you are interested in more information on the Kalashnikov Concern, click here.
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