[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

It is known the autonomy of the staff is a key axis of the success of a process of excellence. The APU ‘s are one of the keys to success for this point.


It is known the autonomy of the staff is a key axis of the success of a process of excellence. Yet it is necessary to know how to organize it. For example, the APO, for the Autonomous Production Organization, has the principle to gather as close as Gemba A team around the same plateau.

What is self- production?

Autonomous production consists in giving all autonomy in the knowledge, skills and decision-making power necessary for the proper functioning of a unit. So, to make a team autonomous is to give it:

  • Financial ressource.
  • A clear scope of actions.
  • means in terms of human resources.
  • means in terms of time.
  • The necessary and sufficient skills.
  • a space.
  • Clear objectives.
  • A process on which the team is Owner.
  • Self-control processes to self-ensure the quality of work and the achievement of objectives.

The stakes

Behind an organization of this type, the stakes are numerous and essential to put in place a process of excellence. We find :

  • By geographical proximity of the staff, improve and facilitate contacts with the other members of the team.
  • Have a human-sized management.
  • Decompartmentalize services to facilitate sharing between functions.
  • Facilitate the culture of customer orientation.
  • facilitate flexibility.
  • Reduce the number of hierarchical levels.
  • Increase the skills of all.
  • Speed up decision making and the quality of it.

From the functional organization to an autonomous organization

1-state of the scene

In most organizations, we find a so-called functional organization. It consists of regrouping by skills the staff and creating ” Services “. We find the services qualities, production, R & D… Each manager is therefore a specialist in his competence.

In an autonomous organization, the staff is assembled in autonomous Production units, in which one or more persons of each type of competence are found. Each item (APU and IPS) is located as close to the Gemba and is around the same table.

2-The future organization

Thus, depending on the company, its sector of activity, its size, its complexity, one can find several levels of autonomous organization.

Supported by the autonomous organization in charge of improving the overall system and deploying the culture, we describe below the functions and roles of each :







Autonomous Production Unit

Independent Production Service

Autonomous Production Team

function represented

1APU Manager and 1 quality engineer, Supply Chain, Engineering, Maintenance and 1 Lean Leader.

1 IPS and quality Manager, Supply Chain, Engineering, Maintenance, 1 Lean Practitioner.

1 APT leading operator, X operators, 1 quality technician, 1 Maintenance Technician


Identify the APU ‘s objectives in terms of overall objectives using the hoshin Kanri.

Represents the company with respect to the customer.

Readjustment the objectives of the APU into objectives by IPS.

Animate the Gemba Kanri With IPS.

 set up Lean projects.

Plan resources, ensure that HSE standards are in compliance.

Participate in the design of new equipment and new products.

Advancing the autonomy of APT

Identify the objectives of each APT in terms of the APU’s objectives.

Optimize the operation of IPS.

Animate the Gemba Kanri With APT (Point five minutes…) and help solve problems.

Animate the Lean projects.

Produce in accordance with the standards.

Achieve the objectives of IPS.

Participate and be proactive in Lean projects.

Note that the Leader operator has a dual role : Support to his team (Respect of standards, able to replace any other operator, trainer, motivates the team…) while having an operator role itself.


3-The path to the autonomous organization






Organize APT

If this is not yet the case, we will identify a maintenance technician and a quality technician by APT. It is well recalled that an APT is a production team. If the line runs in 3 * 8, we have 3 APT for the same IPS.


Cutting workshops in IPS

This will depend on the size of your business. If you only have one or two lines, this type of service is not necessary. It is up to you to judge, respecting the fact that one of the stakes is to reduce the number of hierarchical levels. It is assumed that an IPS is required only if we have at least 100 people on all APT of the same IPS. Otherwise, one will set up a APU directly. It is at this level that we find the ” Alumni » Team leaders. Their missions are therefore redefined.


Create the APU

More often than not, the APU will be formed “Older ” Service managers who may be part of multiple APU’s. Note that a APU has the load of at least 200 people (if one respects the APT rule).


Set up the communication system

Communication is done through the working table and a QCDS table in accordance with the principles of Visual Management.


Set up information meetings

APT Daily Meeting: the operator hosts this 5 minutes meeting with his team to take a look at the day before, the instructions of the previous team, the objectives and the daily guidelines, the improvements and the progress of the various Projects.

Team Change meeting: The leading operator of the team who is leaving animates this meeting of 5 minutes between the 2 leading operators. We will exchange on the highlights, the current problems and the pending actions (as far as possible, the line must continue to rotate during this time, but this must not be at the expense of good communication).

Weekly meeting of the IPS/APT Plateau: hosted by the IPS Manager with each APT, for 15 minutes we will exchange on the results, objectives and actions in progress.

Quarterly meeting of the APU/IPS/APT Plateau: hosted by the APU Manager, during 30mn, we will exchange on the results of the APU and the factory at global, as well as on current projects.


Set up a robust training system

Through autonomy, skills development is a central concern. A plan to identify and deploy effective trainings must be implemented.


Some tips


  • If the APT turns into 3 * 8, the activities of Gemba Kanri will have to be organized to facilitate communication with the night shifts (communication table, clear standard of sharing between the teams…).
  • At the level of the APU, it will be necessary to be able to collect the different indicators of each IPS. A standardised communication will have to be put in place to facilitate comparisons and improvements.
  • In their role, management now has more of a role to play in Sponsor APU’s. It will be based on the Kanri To deploy the company’s overall objectives to APU objectives. Then she has to relay them.
  • People of the same competence (for example, all persons of quality) meet regularly to share their knowledge and standardize good practices. We talk more about business Expert than Service.
  • Regarding the choice of the manager of IPS and APU, it is often interesting to be able to ” Turn “. We can for example have the person of the quality year 1, then the former team leader in Year 2…
  • Some services nevertheless remain ” Outside of this organization. We find the services human resources, HSE or still computer and financial that remain in functional organization.
Share This