Excellence in Operations Initiative

Promoting knowledge to improve operations and technology

In Spain, knowledge is very fragmented and atomized between individuals and industries. The average number of workers per company is below the European average, that is, the business fractionation is greater than in most European countries, only ahead of Ireland, Italy and Greece.

The Excellence in Operations Initiative aims to facilitate the generation of economies of scale in the knowledge of the management of operations and technology in the Spanish company through the exchange of experiences and knowledge about operations in both service companies and industrial companies, as well as the interaction between the academic world and the business world, facilitating the identification of lines of research.

Our Programs

IESE responds to the demand of certain industrial sectors with management programs that address the specific challenges of a certain area. These programs allow professionals to interact with their colleagues, gain new points of view and share ideas

Centers & Chairs

International Center for Logistics Research

International Center for Logistics Research

Supporting the senior management of companies of any size and in any sector, and seeking to leverage change competitively and to improve company operations continuously.

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Celsa Chair of Competitiviness in Manufacturing

Celsa Chair of Competitiviness in Manufacturing

Producing research and disseminating knowledge about competitiveness in the industrial sector and the crucial economic role of industry.

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Our Research

You will find the most recent publications of the professors of the Department of Production Management, Technology and Operations, which include scientific articles, studies, teaching material (such as cases and technical notes) and other informative contents (such as opinions, interviews and videos) in IESE Insight Portal


INEO has institutional and individual support to develop its activities, achieve research objectives and impart their teaching activity at the pace of the needs of employers and managers.

Activities 2016-2019

In this occasion the INEO partners will meet in the Mahou San Miguel’s factory in Alovera (Guadalajara) to discuss about the best way to manage the Sales and Operations Planning. The famous beer company Mahou San Miguel and other firms will expose their vision—with practical and real cases—of how they manage this issue: interchanging information, methodologies, technologies and processes.

Logisfashion is a global logistics operator specialized in the provision of integral services for clients of the fashion and retail sector with presence in Spain, Europe, South America, United States and Asia. The good management of the supply chain with high knowledge in operations and support technologies has allowed Logisfashion a solid position in the market.

The challenge presented was to find new ways to make technological stock profitable: Do they have to make a split? Licensing part of the solutions? Or continue to maintain the IT department as a cost center? The day began with a visit to the Logisfashion warehouse in Guadalajara to continue the debate on the IESE Campus in Madrid.

Ferrero, the iconic company that produces the well-known Nutella, operates in the Iberian Peninsula with the logistics distributor Carreras, an expert in the large consumer sector. During the industrial challenge, the IENO partners had the opportunity to review and validate the collaboration strategy that these two companies have initiated.

This means closer view of a series of challenges to consider, such as measuring productivity or managing conflicts between the two companies. After a visit to the Carreras warehouse, being able to see the operations of Ferrero, the INEO partners continued with the challenge the next day at the IESE Campus in Barcelona for the various work sessions and discussions.

On this occasion, the discussion tables of the VII Industrial Productivity Conference—organized by Elara Ingenieros and IESE—focused on three main topics: (i) leadership in the factory 4.0, (ii) operational and analytical intelligence in the shop floor and (iii) market measurement.

In the afternoon INEO partners had the opportunity to participate in a custom workshop led by Professor Joan Jané on Industry 4.0 where the initiatives of 2 very different companies were analyzed and shared in a practical way: Kaiku (milk industry) and Huntsmann (chemical sector).

The Industrial Excellence Award measures the competitiveness of the industrial and service sectors in Europe. The focus of the competition lies in the definition and deployment of the strategy.

Since 2009, IESE Business School organizes the awards at the Spanish level, awarding the winning prize to the company or business unit that will be defeated with its European counterparts. INEO is used as a platform for the organization of these awards.

The Belgian company UNILIN is the owner of the patent and producer of the floor parquet that is assembled without glue, known by the trade name of Quick-Step. This patent ended its legal life in 2017. During the workshop the guests and partners of INEO had the opportunity to learn about the company’s patent strategy from UNILIN’s CEO: Paul DeCock. During this workshop, a process of re-evaluation and proposal of ideas for the company’s patent strategy was carried out.

Archroma is a multinational in the chemical sector with a production plant in El Prat, Barcelona. Due to a reorganization of the global logistics chain, the plant in El Prat needed a fast redesign of its logistics process to become a center of gravity at European level.

In order to face the problem, an industrial challenge of two days was prepared with a visit to the plant, contextualization of the problem, team work, debate and sharing. At the end of the workshop, a report was made with the main conclusions and findings.

The Orkli industrial cooperative manufactures and sells safety components for gas equipment, boiler components and components for heating and domestic hot water (DHW). For a long time, the heating and ACS activity was in the spotlight because it was the most different from the other business units in terms of production dynamics and the one with the lowest profitability. What should be done with this business unit?

In the case study, INEO partners and guests discussed the possible solutions after a detailed visit to the facilities and a presentation in context. Should you sell the business unit? Do a spin-off? Keep it? INEO members enjoyed an intense day where they discussed the case study at a strategic and operational level to the dynamics of a cooperative.

The VI Industrial Productivity Conference was held under the themes of Productive Improvement Strategies in Innovation, Customization and Talent. To this end, three discussion tables were organized with exclusive guests such as CAF ventures, Iberdrola, Mahou San Miguel, Angulas Aguinaga, Florette and the Polytechnic University of Navarra.

After lunch, the INEO group, together with a select group of guests, visited the Orona Elevator plant in Hernani (Guipúzcoa). Orona is a leading multinational company that designs, manufactures, installs and maintains elevators and equipment all over the world.

The Industrial Excellence Award Spain is an initiative organized by IESE in Spain to recognize the work of Spanish industrial companies that, thanks to their operational excellence and management quality, contribute to Spanish economic competitiveness.

After eight editions, the finalists of the Industrial Excellence Award Spain make up a group of industrial companies that represent more than 2% of the Spanish GDP.

Moving from product to new forms of service is a necessary but risky alternative. According to a Bain & Co. study, only 20% of companies claim to have been successful in this process. The day began with a session of preparation and debate of a new case of IESE, Amazon: Focus on the customer in product companies.

In the afternoon, the workshop “Defining new service opportunities” took place. The possibility of incorporating new services within different business environments represented by INEO companies was analyzed by groups.

Up to 5 practical and real cases of the member companies of INEO were discussed to reflect how can you turn your company into an agile and effective organization capable of solve problems in an effective way. Subsequently, Taymode (Vibia) was presented as an example of a company that has been able to turn the quick and effective solution of problems into a real competitive advantage.

In the afternoon the INEO members visited the SEAT Componentes plant (El Prat del Llobregat), the attendees knew first-hand how they apply the ShopFloor management and its methodology of escalation of problems and deployment.

During the day, a real case was discussed, focused on the massive leakage of natural gas from an underground warehouse in California (USA). The causes and the incident in SoCalGas were discussed, evaluating the quality of the company’s crisis management operations.

In the afternoon, the Autopistas Operations Center (Abertis) was visited together with Sara Rodríguez, manager of the Autopistas operations centers.

Etnia Barcelona is a manufacturer of high quality eyewear that has increased its turnover revenue by more than 30% annually since its founding. The company orientates its production model towards the product, prioritizing the complexity and quality of this over the large lots.

However, HP’s 3D printing technology could allow Etnia to take another leap in its business model, significantly reducing stock risk and delivery times to the customer. After the discussion of the case, the INEO group had the opportunity to discuss the implications of the decision with the protagonists of the same:

• David Pellicer, CEO at Etnia
• Josep Maria Montserrat, Financial Director in Ethnicity
• Joan Jané, Director of Logistics of the EMEA region at HP

A day centered around the application of practical solutions within the scope of Industry 4.0. With a format very similar to an investment forum. The INEO partners attended the presentation of a number of projects already implemented in real companies, which aim to respond to different challenges with the common denominator of being based on some of the levers that are part of the so-called Industry 4.0.

In the afternoon, there was a visit in the Aernnova Aeroestructuras plant in Berantevilla (Vitoria). Winner of the IEA Spain Award in 2013, she works as Tier 1 for the main aircraft and helicopter manufacturers

Since 2009, IESE has been organizing the Industrial Excellence Award (IEA), taking the pulse of the competitiveness of the industrial and service sectors in Europe. The focus of this competition is on how organizations organize distributed activities and knowledge to achieve common strategic objectives.

All business units are invited to take part in this initiative. The companies in the business units must be located in Western Europe. The possible sister plants of Eastern Europe are also encouraged to participate. The award can include both large volume production and custom project businesses.

A day dedicated to reflect on how new approaches in logistics and IT, especially automation and use of measurement systems, enable decision-making and development of data-based optimization systems.

To illustrate this phenomenon, we focus on two very different companies: Fashiop and Fedefarma. In the morning INEO partners visited one of the Fedefarma stores in Barcelona with SSI Schäfer, its supplier. The afternoon is dedicated to discussing the business model of Fashiop, a recently created startup that reinvents the sale of men’s fashion.

Annual meeting where INEO reports to the Advisory Council, that is, those companies that sponsor the Initiative.

The event began at the Fedefarma headquarters in Gavà. Fedefarma is the leading pharmaceutical distribution cooperative in Catalonia and its logistics center in Gavà, built in 2009 and developed by SSI Schäfer, is a benchmark in the sector.

It was attended by David Pardo, CEO of Fedefarma and Conrad Cardona, CEO of SSI Schäfer, who presented the business project of Fedefarma and the warehouse’s technical capabilities.

After lunch, and at the North Campus of IESE, the case of Fashiop was discussed, the first company of personal online shoppers for men in Spain. The case was prepared and discussed by teams in a general session and ended with a debate with the entrepreneurs.

The day begins with a conference by Prof. Calvo on the impact of digitization on the operations of different emblematic with focus in service companies. After the conference, B:SM (Barcelona’s municipality service company) is studied to address its digitization agenda in the supervision and collection operation of the urban paid parking lots problematic.

There is also a reflection on the reasons for the low adoption of some of their past initiatives and the future possibilities of several new projects like the app ApparkB.

Girbau is a company that designs, produces and markets industrial laundry equipment. The company is characterized by a conservative management based on organic growth, the financing of operations with its own funds and the constant reinvestment of the profit.

Two of the main challenges for the future of the company are the internationalization of its operations and the attack on the Chinese market. A day is dedicated to visit two of the company’s factories and to reflect on how the Chinese market with domestic productive capacity should be served.

A day is dedicated to visit the SEAT plant in Martorell (in the morning) and some of the most relevant Catalan research infrastructures.

In particular, Albert Torra, president of Eurecat, gave us a talk during lunch about the research center supporting the industry that he chairs. In the afternoon, the Catalan Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) is visited with the support of its director, Lluís Torner.

A full day is dedicated to the concept of “Smart Factory and Industry 4.0” attending in the morning to the IV Conference on Industrial Productivity. This takes place in the Museum of the University of Navarra in Pamplona and brings together, in addition to INEO partners, about 200 professionals from the industrial sector. The day began with a presentation by Professor Calvo: “What can we learn from the Spanish industrial champions?”

In the afternoon, the partners of INEO and a select group of attendees of the conference were able to enjoy a guided tour of the Volkswagen factory in Pamplona, attended by those responsible for production, logistics and external relations of the plant.