Companies detect an emerging concept in their continuous improvement and innovation processes: the confluence of Lean and the implementation of Industry 4.0 projects. They also detect a lack of these skills in vocational training graduates. Like any emerging concept, it takes time to become present in VET curricula. And in the 21st century, innovation cannot be delayed.

To solve this problem, the industry must take an active role in defining and training key competencies and skills. And collaboration between the business, training, innovation and technological development ecosystem is essential.

In this context, European companies from three countries, Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic, are promoting a strategic partnership project with the aim of improving the results of vocational education and training by developing an innovative digital educational methodology, based on simulation seroius games, oriented to real experiences, and integrating Lean continuous improvement systems, with Industry 4.0 systems, in a new concept called Lean 4.0, and validated by companies and vocational training centers.

To do this, five entities with extensive experience in collaborative projects have joined a consortium:

Caar, Aragón Automotive Cluster (Spain), which groups 76 automotive companies that employ 11,500 people in the region. It designs and manages innovation, business development and training / talent programs with the participation of its partners, of which 50% are SMEs.

Autoklastr, Automotive Cluster of the Czech region of Moravia / Silesia, with a profile similar to Caar, but in its region, it groups 86 industrial and industrial service companies, that employ more than 10,000 people. It develops cooperation programs between companies for their competitive improvement.
Aitiip, technological center for new materials. Fundación Aragonesa (Spain) made up of large and medium-sized companies and business development entities, specialized in
technological development and innovation in creation, processes and manufacturing of new materials, with extensive experience in industry 4.0 and European project management.
Atec – Associação de Formação para a Industria, is a private non-profit association, founded by Volkswagen Autoeuropa, Siemens, Bosch and CCILA (German Chamber of
Commerce and Industry in Portugal), and created to contribute significantly to the increase in qualifications / professional skills available in Portugal and, consequently, to increase the quality and productivity of companies. It has offices in Lisbon, Porto, and at its partners’ facilities in Veiro, São João da Madeira, Viseu, Braga, Cascais and Carregado. He teaches over 100,000 hours of high-level technical vocational training per year.
TastyAir is a young Czech StartUp specialized in the development of industry 4.0 hardware and software applications.
The five partners form a balanced and powerful international group, with notable representation of large companies and SMEs, capacity for technological innovation, experience in technical training, and specific knowledge in digital educational applications development.

The project includes the development of a research study on the convergence between Lean methodologies and industry 4.0 enablers not only in the participating countries and their
companies, but in the scientific and technological field of all of Europe. Subsequently, once the scope of the application has been determined, an analysis will be carried out to characterize the entire application and its systems. Next, and once the model has been validated by companies and training centers, the application will be developed. Finally, four pilot actions will be carried out in vocational training centers to test the tool.

Social research techniques, systems analysis methodologies, agile methodologies will be used for the development of mixed software and hardware applications, and evaluation studies of didactic methodologies.

The fundamental result is the creation of an open source community around Lean 4.0, and a tool based on simulation games, to design, execute and measure the results of training actions in Lean 4.0, bringing training closer to a real environment of production. This methodology will impact on the problem of lack of specialized training in Lean 4.0, incorporating

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