RUSAL Production System

"Our goal is to develop our human resources and create a culture conducive to continuous improvements in the production and business processes employed by the Company. We also aim to develop a unified systems approach to how we understand efficiency enhancement tools and how we introduce and propagate the RUSAL production system"

Oleg Deripaska

We are a global leader in the aluminium industry today and we intend to maintain our leading position in the global markets by utilising our own production process solutions, the global reach of our business and the professionalism of our employees. Our main goal is to ensure sustainable growth of our Company as a global corporation and a leader in the global aluminium industry.

RUSAL production system principles

Priority must be given to long term goals

The RUSAL production system is a mechanism for creating, searching out, selecting and introducing the best production practices, and accumulating knowledge that will allow the Company to achieve its strategic goals and sustained long term growth so that the Company can successfully compete in global markets. The RUSAL production system is a philosophy that inspires the employees to rethink their daily work and to constantly strive for efficiency. We understand that the production system is not a heroic effort that allows us to achieve a one-time success but it is continuous improvement.

Customer comes first

As part of our Policy we focus on our customers in our work. This is achieved by carefully analysing customer demands and developing customised product specifications. The doors of RUSAL’s production facilities are always open to customers who can come and see for themselves that we employ stable production processes that yield consistent results. Oftentimes the issues of improving product quality and refining the production processes are resolved in informal conversations with customers on their production sites.

Human resources are the most valuable asset

The best investments are investments in the development of human resources because people are what everything else – equipment, methods, materials – hinges on. People can think, learn, improve themselves and their environment, make personal contributions and work in teams.

A culture of on-going improvement (Kaizen)

Everything can and must be improved. Not a single day must pass at the Company without an improvement. Our focus is not on criticising shortcomings but on proposing improvements that deal with the shortcomings.

Constant and continuous improvements are the key to the successful development of production facilities. In a fast changing market with cut-throat competition, the Company must constantly be improving its production process to survive, grow and remain competitive. The basic idea behind continuous improvement is that you must never rest on your laurels once you’ve achieved some results, you must always keep striving for improvement on an every-day basis. Every day you must try to be a little better than yesterday; that is the essence of the efficiency of the production system. You shouldn’t get obsessed with large-scale improvements, what’s more important is continuity, because it’s only through daily improvements that high production efficiency can be achieved and sustained in the long run.

Focus on the workplace ("Gemba")

Gemba is not any workplace but only a workplace where value for the customer is created, i.e. a workplace where the product is made or the service is rendered. Practically with any problem, you have to go down to the production floor and see for yourself what’s what before you can come up with a good solution.

RUSAL production system ideals


This refers not only to minimising the risk of employees sustaining physical injuries but also to the peace of mind – all employees who diligently perform their duties and make a contribution to the growth and effective operation of the Company must be sure that the Company needs them and will not lay them off for reasons beyond their control.


From a business point of view product quality is the source of income for the Company, therefore improving product quality is past of cost management. The most effective way to drastically improve product quality is to prevent defects, i.e. to completely eliminate a possibility of future defects.

Meet customers’ demands on the shortest notice

Customers must always be able to get the products they need as soon as possible once they told the supplier what product they need, how much, when and what quality requirements it should meet. The supplier must always be striving to meet the demands of its customers as soon as possible.

Production to order

The entire range of products must be produced in accordance with how much of each product orders have been placed for.

Immediate response

Whenever a customer runs into problems with the products, the supplier must immediately take measures to rectify the situation, monitor their efficiency and keep the customer abreast of the progress. The customer must also respond quickly to changes in the customer’s requirements and make appropriate adjustments to its production processes to ensure all of the customer’s requirements are met.

Minimal costs

We cannot set the prices for our products, the price results from customer demand for our products. Therefore in order to maximise profit we must reduce our production costs by eliminating losses and unnecessary costs as much as possible.

We focus our efforts on eliminating losses, i.e. actions and processes that do not add any value to the final product but only expend resources.

Production losses

Unnecessary movement of people

results in disorganisation of the production process. When unnecessary movements are eliminated, a significant reduction in labour intensity is achieved as a rule.

Excessive transportation

is the movement of raw materials and finished goods without real need, for example when inventories are transported to the warehouse before they are needed at the next stage.

Excessive transportation

is the movement of raw materials and finished goods without real need, for example when inventories are transported to the warehouse before they are needed at the next stage.


is when more products are made than are needed to fill the current orders. Excess products are also a loss because human and material resources have been expended to make them before there is real (external or internal) demand for them.


is when time is spent waiting until the previous production stage is completed or until new orders are placed. This also includes the idle time of the operator while the machine is working. The cause of waiting is a poorly organised production process.

Redundant processing

is when more processing is performed than is needed to meet customer needs. As a rule these production operations can be entirely eliminated from the production process without any detriment to product quality.

Corrections and defects

refer to defects that either can or cannot be corrected, items that must be replaced or equipment that broke down and is in need of repairs.

Solving Problems

Single Minute Exchange of Dies

Single Minute Exchange of Dies, SMED – is a process of changing dies to switch from making one type of product to making another type of product in the shortest possible amount of time.

  1. Development of a SMED system
  2. drastically increases productivity
  3. minimises inventories
  4. increases the turnover of capital
  5. increases the efficiency of production premises utilisation
  6. increases productivity by reducing the amount of loading and unloading operations in storage areas
  7. increases the utilisation of equipment and production resources
  8. improves health and safety
  9. reduces costs
  10. improves the working conditions of the operators and reduces the time of the production cycle
  11. increases the flexibility of production
Jidoka (autonomation)

Jidoka (autonomation) is automation with a human touch where the production line is designed in such a way that whenever an abnormality appears it can be stopped and the operator can ask for help

Solving Problems

Basic principles of embedded quality

  1. 1. The worker can stop the processe if defects start coming off the production line or the equipment breaks down.
  2. 2. Equipment is designed in such a way that deviations can be discovered and the equipment can be stopped automatically.
  3. 3. A special system is used to notify management, maintenance and other workers of production line problems ( ‘Andon’).
  4. 4. Mistake proofing devices or methods are used to avoid errors and defects (‘Poka-Yoke’).
  5. 5. Quality assurance procedures are standardised and equipment operators are given quality assurance functions.
Standardised work

is the most efficient and safe kind of work that ensures that the production process meets the required quality, productivity and production cost parameters. Standardisation of workplaces makes it possible to establish which methods and procedures are optimal for each process. The goal of standardisation is to increase efficiency by minimising losses in each operation. Standardised work is different from management using performance standards. Performance standards are imposed on workers from above and are often viewed as part of the stick and carrot approach. Unlike performance standards, standardised work assumes that proposals on how operations can be standardised come from workers themselves. The goal of standardised work is to develop work practices that meet customer needs while simultaneously minimising possible losses.

Just in time

Just in time means that the exact quantity of products are made at the exact time they are needed. This also means that all the raw materials must also be delivered to the production line just in time and in the required amounts. This means that stocks of inventories in the production shop can be completely done away with, which in turn means that no storage capacity will be needed any more. This drastically reduces inventory holding costs and increases the turnover of current assets. Just in time is based on ‘Kanban’, or pulling. In Japanese ‘Kanban’ means a card that specifies how many of which products are needed, that is the card itself is a production order. This system sets up direct links between the various production areas thereby implementing the principle of customer-supplier in the relations between them.


TPM (total productive maintenance) The condition of the production equipment is a key factor in achieving the quality, production, health and safety and cash cost targets.

Ideally equipment must operate without any idle time or breakdowns. Is it at all possible? Quite possible if it’s maintained properly.

Usually equipment is operated by production personnel and maintained and repaired by maintenance personnel. These two groups of personnel have completely different functions. Production personnel have to achieve production targets while maintenance personnel have to keep the equipment in working condition and repair it when needed. This difference in purpose means that production personnel are not very much interested in the problems faced by maintenance workers and vice versa. Naturally, as a result there may be lack of available equipment.

We have completely overhauled our approach to equipment maintenance in order to combine production and maintenance into a single process. The preventive maintenance principle is based on the postulate that operation and maintenance must go hand in hand. This means that all maintenance operations that do not require special skills must be carried out by production workers who operate the equipment. All maintenance procedures must be standardised. During repairs equipment must be completely restored and modernised to prevent the recurrence of the same kind of malfunction. Information about problems must be recorded and analysed for better planning of maintenance.