Our story begins while businesses are still reeling from the effects of two oil crises. Taylorism passes away. In terms of organization, after reigning alone for fifty years, Ford gradually makes way for Toyota. Underpinning diversity, flexibility, efficiency, new methods and techniques appear. People start talking about VMI, Kanban, SMED as well as Just-In-Time, Lean, and TQM. The Japanese model, enriched with the ideas of Deming and Crosby, settles in as the new reference.
It is in this context that three keen engineers, convinced of the amplitude this post-Taylorism model will take, decide to set up Proconseil. They translate Richard Schonberger’s “World Class Manufacturing: the lessons of simplicity applied” (1986-The Press, New York) . 1st work in French on the still unnamed Lean approach, it explains how to apply the Japanese methods.
As a natural extension of the methods developed by the automotive industry and reaching the whole industrial landscape, a new idea emerges, that of taking advantage of the skills in the field. The time is ripe to develop hands-on management methods where the buzzwords are visual, simple and common sense!
The book “The factory on display” is written by Michel Greif, one of the founders of the practice. As new technologies enable remote communication, organizing hands-on local communication becomes one of the leading activities of a growing Proconseil team.
Under increasingly tough competitive pressure, firms try to refocus on their “core business”. They observe and compare each other. Efficiency goes with rationalization, elimination of “non-value-added”, simplification, lightening of structures, …Lean, flow optimization become watchwords; Benchmark, re-engineering, TPM are the instruments for this!
This is the time chosen by Proconseil to develop participative methods and help their ever-increasing number of clients rethink their organization and install continuous improvement.
In constant motion, businesses concentrate and merge. Markets become global. The internet and new technologies boom pushes back the boundaries of space and time. The efficiency of organizations depends on the speed of processes as well as the development of skills and empowerment.
Proconseil continues to expand and organize itself to lead more large-scale projects. With its clients, firm travels to Brazil, Eastern Europe, Singapore and Japan… It establishes the Autonomous Teams Trophy, showing the way to many businesses.
Product and technology life-cycles are shorter and shorter. Continuous innovation is a necessity. We enter feet first into the economy of intelligence and knowledge. Safety and saving the planet have become major concerns for responsible businesses.
In the background, the financial domination of the economy gets inexorably stronger. Businesses become little by little machines to generate short-term gains. Downsizing becomes the sole consequence of progress actions – suicidal attitude over time – and the bottom line an end in itself, whereas any true entrepreneur knows this is always just been a means to grow. And the crisis hits us all at the end of 2008-2009…
Proconseil, at its clients’ request, travel all over the world, achieving 10% of its turnover abroad. The firm is also led to provide its expertise to other sectors: banking, insurance, services are now a part of its world. It confirms its position as a specialist of organizational change.
The Everlasting Business as a cause!
In the wake of an unprecedented financial crisis, the world is once again witness to tottering economies and collapsing certainties: energies freeing up in the South, cascading catastrophes in Japan…
While it is not uncommon to hear: “I’d love to do things differently but I’m locked in the system", “I no longer know what use I am"... Proconseil has decided to take a stand. Whatever a firm’s situation or business maturity, we believe that by considering the human dimension at its fair value, global performance standards will be raised.
This is in our view a precondition for any company’s continuity.
History is being written now…