The VSM Guide: Case Study 3 – One Mondragon Co-operative

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The VSM Guide: Case Study 3 – One Mondragon Co-operative

Case Study 3:

ONE MONDRAGON CO-OPERATIVE

This case study is a diagnosis.I visited Mondragon in February 1991 in order to look at the way they handle federations of co-operatives. However, much of what I learned about the organisation of a single enterprise was of such relevance to the use of the VSM, that I felt bound to include it in these case studies.Many of the conclusions I made concerning Suma have been reached by the Mondragon co-ops, presumably by entirely different routes.And in many cases they have adopted practical solutions which fit in exactly with some of my more theoretical proposals.

BACKGROUND

My visit to Mondragon was primarily to study the way that they manage to get 173 different co-ops to collaborate. However, the structure of their manufacturing plants has been changing recently, and these changes were of direct relevance to the conclusions I have been coming to through VSM diagnosis.

Mondragon are the most successful group of co-ops that I know, and during the visit I made in February 1991 I was continuously impressed by their commitment to both co-operative ideals and to state-of-the art production techniques. All the factories are full of computer controlled machine tools and robots. They have huge warehouses run entirely by computer. And most of the steel presses and control gear are made by other factories within the Mondragon group.

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The VSM Guide: Case Study 3 – One Mondragon Co-operative