With the LPS - Leonardo Production System programme, Leonardo maps out its pathway towards the “smart factory”

Following the first three successful years for the LPS, confirmed by Leonardo's inclusion in the WCM Association, it's all systems go for the LPS 4.0 version to design the digital production processes of the future

The LPS - Leonardo Production System programme is now three years old. It was launched in the spring of 2019 with the aim of optimising the efficiency and productivity of Leonardo's industrial sites through a continuous improvement approach to process and programme management, thus ensuring ever-increasing quality and safety.

The programme is based upon WCM World Class Manufacturing - a structured and integrated production methodology aimed at continuously improving all production performances to guarantee product quality and satisfy customer expectations. The new system introduced by the LPS has a triple objective: reducing waste in the current production process; involving all workers on the site, getting them to assume their responsibilities and making them an integral and active part of the process; and increasing safety in the workplace.

Bearing witness to the good work done, Leonardo has been included in the WCM Association, an organisation that brings together the most important and deserving companies that, at the global level, implement internal production processes inspired by WCM.

WCM is the evolution and integration of methodologies and logics aimed at optimising production methods developed since the 1950s, including Lean Manufacturing, JIT (Just in Time), QRM (Quick Response Manufacturing) and TPM (Total Productive Maintenance). To these WCM adds the careful evaluation of losses and waste for the purpose of coherently prioritised and targeted planning (Cost Deployment). The activities of the teams involved in WCM are oriented towards carrying out Kaizen projects aimed at eliminating losses and their causes, so as to achieve satisfaction among customers and stakeholders and, in general, to ensure a reduction in company costs.

The World Class Manufacturing Association is a non-profit organisation of different manufacturing companies that was founded to promote the development and implementation of best manufacturing practices; it also helps to increase the competitiveness of the production system for the benefit of participating companies, their production sites and end customers. The WCM Association encourages the exchange of knowledge between its various member companies, acting as guarantor in identifying auditors to actively support the programme's development, and granting “WCM Awards” to the best sites. 


The inefficiencies that the LPS programme sets out to eliminate regard unnecessary stocks and superfluous movements. In the first case, excessive stocks of raw materials, semi-finished and finished products increase the lead time, i.e. the time taken up to delivery. The ideal scenario should be a zero-buffer situation with a consequently faster flow of goods, also because unnecessary stocks have their own cost and can therefore compromise a company’s competitiveness.

Superfluous movements, on the other hand, are movements by workers that do not add value to the product. An example of these are when a worker has to move to search for a particular code or tool. Unnecessary movements are often a function of workstation ergonomics, which force the worker to bend, move or perform other actions that could have been avoided. This type of waste leads the individual to become tired and inevitably creates problems linked with productivity and - often - quality.

The development of the LPS programme therefore required rethinking the production processes and optimising, not only the production processes but also the whole product life cycle: handling, stocks, controls, maintenance, supply chain management, through to the design and modelling of operational processes.

"With the LPS programme we’ve introduced a systemic and logical approach to improve production performance within Leonardo. In 2019 we identified the Pomigliano and Nola plants to act as pilot sites, and by the end of 2021 had introduced the new production methodology at sixteen Italian sites with the launch of more than 1,900 improvement projects. Our goal is to involve nineteen sites during the course of this year”, says Fabio Barsotti, Manufacturing and Program Management Optimization Director of Leonardo.  


The LPS programme is now 4.0, to support integration between digital and manufacturing


The figures show that a roadmap of the highest order has been followed, and a further component has now been added with the digitisation of processes as its main focal point. Over the next ten years Leonardo will be engaged both in enhancing its consolidated businesses and in developing technology innovation projects, as outlined in the Be Tomorrow 2030 strategic plan. This has the purpose of initiating a sustainable transformation of new technological cycles, thanks above all to the integration of the digital and manufacturing spheres. “To respond rapidly and coherently to the company's strategic vision, we’ve launched the LPS 4.0 programme, thus updating the Leonardo Production System with a version that pays ever-more attention to the digital computerisation of production: with LPS 4.0 we intend to directly impact the transformation costs of processes, helping - through the adoption of digital technologies - to improve them from the viewpoint of sustainability”. In short, in the words of Barsotti, “following the logic of growing digitisation, the performance curve that we can attain thanks to LPS will become the one outlined in red, thus increasing the results achievable within the same given time frame”.