Global leaders supporting Enterprise Ireland’s drive to make Irish companies more Competitive

29th May 2013

‘Driving Competitiveness’ Conference opened by Minister Coveney

L to R: Pictured are Carl Klemm, President of the Board of Toyota Motor Manufacturing (Poland) and Frank Ryan, CEO Enterprise Ireland
L to R: Pictured are Carl Klemm, President of the Board of Toyota Motor Manufacturing (Poland) and Frank Ryan, CEO Enterprise Ireland.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Simon Coveney TD, today (29 May 2013) opened Enterprise Ireland’s “Driving Competitiveness” Conference at Dublin Castle. The Conference is supported by the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation.

Over 40 of the world’s leading companies, most of them household names, from Europe, Japan and Ireland have come together to share their practical experiences of what does and doesn’t work in the drive to achieve competitiveness in global markets.

International speakers include the President of the Board of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland, Carl Klemm, and senior managers from Tetra Pak, Rational, Kostwein, Porsche, Bosch and Volvo. Speakers from Irish companies that have adopted Lean Business represent many different sectors and include Kepak Group, Dairygold, Diageo, Openet, Combilift, Glanbia, Keenans, Chanelle, Kraft Foods and Kerry Group.

Opening the conference Minister Coveney said:

‘Competitiveness is fundamental to success. The focus on Lean Business is key for companies as they seek to compete and win in global markets. Businesses across all sectors need to operate at world-class levels of performance to secure and grow their share of export sales.

‘Today’s conference, under the auspices of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, demonstrates Europe’s commitment to Competitiveness. It is hugely encouraging to see over 40 of the leading companies from Europe, Japan and Ireland here today. Their willingness to share their experiences about what drives competitiveness across all sizes of business, across all sectors, is greatly appreciated by the Irish Government. Initiatives like this conference today will help deepen our understanding of what it takes to drive competitiveness, ultimately helping to sustain and grow jobs.’

Key note speaker at the conference, Carl Klemm, President of the Board of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland said:

‘Toyota is constantly working and striving to be better. One of our fundamental principles is that of challenge – trying to be better today than we were yesterday - based on the concept of Continuous Improvement. We constantly try to meet and exceed customers’ needs and requirements with creative technologies, innovative products and extremely capable manufacturing processes. Our second fundamental principle is that of Respect for People. It is essential that our company and our members develop simultaneously. We as a team deliver on Toyota’s promise. The need for competitiveness has never been stronger – we are all facing the same challenges. It has been our privilege and our pleasure to work with Enterprise Ireland over the last five years to support the drive for competitiveness in Irish companies.’

Enterprise Ireland’s CEO Frank Ryan added:

‘Competitiveness is all about driving effectiveness and efficiencies.  Lean tools and techniques help companies address and improve the internal factors over which they have control and can affect.  Lean is not about cutting to the bone – it is about building the capability of people and the capacity of processes to deliver quality products and services that can compete in global markets.’

Over the last three years, Enterprise Ireland has supported almost 500 companies with Lean Business initiatives resulting in significant improvements across the board. Improvements, which have resulted in annual savings for client companies ranging from tens of thousands to millions of euro, include:

•        Packaging: Net margin increased from 5% to 15%

•        Engineering: Labour productivity on fabrication line increased by 35%

•        Food additives: 17.5% reduction in Labour costs

•        Engineering: 20% Gross profit from current average of 9%

•        Packaging: 16% reduction of packaging line cycle time

•        Pet-food products: 14% cost reduction per unit

•        Recycling: Sort line throughput up by 600%

•        Insulation products: Reduction of the build time from 5 days to 0.8 of a day

Continuing the theme of Competitiveness, two reports will be launched during the conference:

Irish Benchmarking Report:  Enterprise Ireland has been benchmarking Irish businesses for a number of years. “Made in Ireland 4: The 1,000 Benchmark Report” provides an insight into the current performance of Enterprise Ireland client companies, highlights the improvements made over the past years and also identifies key areas requiring further improvement in the adoption of operational excellence and new product development and introduction if Irish companies are to achieve world-class levels of performance. The report is based on data from over 1,000 benchmarks captured by the Enterprise Ireland team. The benchmark systems used by Enterprise Ireland provide objective comparisons against the largest SME databases in Europe, giving Irish businesses the means to identify strengths as well as opportunities to improve through the adoption of good and best Lean practice.

The NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) Irish standard document for Lean: “SWiFT 11: Driving Competitiveness Using Lean”. This standard provides guidance on using Lean and is aimed at helping any Irish company to get started on the Lean journey of continuous improvement.  Swift 11 also provides recommendations on the tools and techniques that can be used when implementing Lean which in turn can drive and improve competitiveness in any organisation. The standard also includes helpful examples. The SWiFT standard is part of a national effort to help Irish businesses become more efficient and effective in the provision of their services and products whether for the domestic or international market.  This in turn can assure the competitiveness of the economy.


For further information contact:

Paula Chase

Press Officer 
Enterprise Ireland

+353 1 7272842

Paula Chase

Notes for Editor

Enterprise Ireland’s Lean Business Offer

Enterprise Ireland’s core mission is to work in partnership with its client companies to develop a sustainable competitive advantage leading to a significant increase in profitable sales, exports and employment. Lean tools and techniques are helping companies across the globe to address competitiveness issues within their business, building the capability of their people to identify issues and improve their operations. Enterprise Ireland’s Lean Business Offer is designed to encourage clients to adopt Lean business principles in their organisation to increase competitiveness. The programme is based on 3 levels of intensity of interaction with clients.

LeanStart: focus on value

A short in-company assignment of up to 7 days by an external business development consultant, which will introduce Lean principles and agile processes and complete a specific cost-reduction project. Assignments typically extend over eight weeks.

LeanPlus: performance improvement

A medium-scale business process improvement project by an external business development consultant, which will result in the sustained use of Lean techniques and related methodologies within the company. The objective is to achieve significant measurable gains in company capabilities and competitiveness. Assignments will typically be not less than 6 months duration.

LeanTransform: business transformation

An extensive, holistic company transformation programme by an external consultancy team of international reputation. It will embed the culture and competences in the company necessary for on-going competitiveness gains, sustainable continuous improvement and business transformation across the business and its supply chain. Assignments will typically extend for at least one year. The assignment is preceded by a diagnostic evaluation.

About NSAI:

NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) improves the performance of Irish business and protects all consumers. It is Ireland’s official standards and measurement body and the state agency vested with the responsibility to manage the policy instruments of Standards, Metrology and Conformity Assessment, (in the form of Certification) on behalf of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Its work entails serving industry and protecting consumer interests through the setting of standards and issuing of certification in the quality and safety of goods and services.

About SWiFT 11:

Chaired by Ann Ledwith of the University of Limerick, the NSAI SWiFT 11 drafting committee was comprised of academia, industry and business support groups such as Enterprise Ireland and IBEC who kick-started the project.  National collaboration and joined up thinking has led to the successful publication of the NSAI SWiFT 11 standard which will assist Irish business to become more competitive.

For NSAI media queries please contact:

Eleanor Reidy

Carr Communications

+353 1 7728937


Eleanor Reidy