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TOYOTA, Mercedes-Benz, Technonikol, Sberbank – what do these companies have in common?

TOYOTA, Mercedes-Benz, Technonikol, Sberbank – what do these companies have in common?
Why do many modern companies create their own production systems?
"Operations management" on the EMBA programme in Russian language.

Operations management is an extremely important topic. The activity of any company, large or small, consists of daily processes. They say, “the devil is in the details,” in operational management, the devil is in the processes, in the efficiency and consistency of setting up the value chain, whether it be car production, online money transfer, food delivery, roofing materials production or something else. The process settings cover the indicators of efficiency, cost price, quality, as well as the main operating losses.


This year, the module of the EMBA programme in Russian language, dedicated to "Operational Management", it began with a visit to the Mercedes Benz Manufacturing Rus plant in the Moscow region. The study of the topic is always accompanied by a business visit to the enterprise, in the language of operational management, a visit to the gemba, a place of value creation.

The opening of the Mercedes Benz Manufacturing Rus plant two years ago was accompanied by a media campaign, the presence of the Mercedes Benz management and the President of Russia. The factory still proudly keeps the bonnet, which was signed by President Putin and Dieter Zetsche, General Director of the company. At the moment, the plant already produces 4 car models and covers 85% of the needs of the Russian market. The localization of production is increasing every year.

Pavel Bilenko, professor of the course "Operations Management", drew attention to a special element that is part of the Mercedes Benz Production System. This element was left without translation on the Russian-language scheme of the Mercedes Benz PS.


The fact is that "Fuhrung" has several meanings: "leadership", "vision", "direction", "visit" and this capacious word reflects its own German version of a visit to the gemba.

The Faculty of International Programmes MBA Kingston /RANEPA and the EMBA programme in Russian language are grateful to the management of Mercedes Benz in Russia and Germany for the opportunity to study in practice the company's unique production experience. We also express special gratitude to our permanent partners in organizing visit-events - the Russian- German Chamber of Commerce in the person of Vladimir Nikitenko and Svetlana Bechtold - for the brilliant organization of the visit.

Speaking about operational management, we, of course, could not ignore the classic TOYOTA Production System. Many companies, when creating their own production systems, to one degree or another take TPS as a basis. This was done by the companies KAMAZ, Technonikol, Concern Kalashnikov, Sberbank. German Gref once noted: “Perhaps the best thing that TOYOTA has presented to the world is not cars, but TOYOTA Production System”.

On the EMBA programme in Russian language, the story about TOYOTA Production System is led by Pavel Mikhin. Pavel has worked at the TOYOTA Boshoku plant in the Leningrad Region for more than 6 years, almost from the day of launch, he knows in detail how this unique company functions from the inside. Practical expert sessions with Pavel always receive the highest marks from the audience of the programme.

At the dawn of the transformation, meetings of the Sberbank Management Board used to start with the question: "Who knows what TPS is?" Not all members of the Board could answer this question. A lot of time has passed since then, Sberbank has changed beyond recognition, it has become a symbol of the fact that "you can also teach an elephant to dance." And now the nation's most agile bank is demonstrating that service organizations can have successful production systems.


The conversation about operational management in service organizations is continued by Vasily Shelkovoy, head of the Sberbank Production System. The most profitable bank in Europe in 2020, 10th place in the world rating - part of this success of Sberbank lies, among other things, in the ability to establish efficient operational processes and minimize losses.

The study of successful, proven practices helps programme students improve operational processes in their companies, adapt the knowledge gained to their business, context, use knowledge plastically, first for critical rethinking, searching for points of improvement, and then for creating new technologies, methods and their own authentic production systems.

We live in a very dynamic time. Pavel Bilenko stressed that even such symbols of operational efficiency as TOYOTA and TPS have to adapt under the onslaught of digitalization, the transition to Industry 4.0. This evolutionary process improvement is the essence of operational management.


Vasil Zorin, 1st year student, EMBA programme in Russian language.

“The third module of the EMBA programme has come to an end. I felt in my gut the synergistic effect that cool teachers, speakers and cool classmates give. With difficulty and honesty, I delved into corporate finance, with my fingertips feeling the relationship in calculating the value of a company through the compound interest formula.

As a song I listened to about lean production, production systems of companies, knew a lot about it, applied it, tried to teach it and, nevertheless, rethought a lot on the examples of TOYOTA Production System and the production system of Sberbank. It was a pleasant bonus not only to hear, but also to see the production processes of Mercedes Benz at the plant".

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