Ever since I was a kid I was intrigued by everything, especially with how things work, and how to make them work better. After all, how can you improve something which you do not understand at basic level? Choice of education was largely guided by my curiosity, initially for all things mechanical, and later for understanding complex human-machine systems. I look for answers everywhere — in books, on the shop-floor, lectures, doers, mentors, kids — and every answer further enriches my understanding.
At the First Technical School Tesla, my highschool of choice, I studied electrical engineering, robotics and informatics. For my graduation project I wrote about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, focusing on their logistical application for defence and surveilance purposes. When it came time to enroll University, I was unsure if I would like to go to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) or Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (FSB).
In the end I’ve decided to enroll Aeronautical Engineering at FSB. During one of the semesters I had a course titled Industrial Engineering. It was taught by Prof. Goran Đukić and it blew me away. Soon after I decided to switch my complete study programme from Aeronautical Engineering to Industrial Engineering. It was a gruelling process, but I do not regret it.
The Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers defines industrial engineering as:
During my studies in industrial engineering I was introduced to Lean and Six Sigma philosophies. Through elective courses and extracurricular activities, I focused on operations research, quantitative decision models, and integrated management systems based on quality. My passion for Lean was not overlooked, and I was invited to join Global Creatives Network Zagreb, part of Toyota Motor Corporation’s Global Creatives Network, a worldwide network of creators, companies, universities and Toyota inspired creative centers.
I won a scholarship by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and Đuro Đaković Holding, which included studying one semester at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology as an exchange student. There I undertook a specialisation project titled Implementing Lean Six Sigma: The effective integration of two improvement methodologies, supervised by Daryl Powell. Within a 4 month time frame I’ve read and analysed 15 books and 96 journal articles, selected from the list of 200 journal articles whose summaries I’ve read and analysed, and written a 150 page long project report. Outcome was Lean Six Sigma deployment roadmap, custom tailored for Đuro Đaković Special Vehicles.
It didn’t take me long to realise that you cannot just read and theorise about Lean – you have to practice it to truly understand it and get better at it. There are no substitutes for that. As a full-time student I decided that best course of action is working through student associations and participating in various student competitions.
From November 2011 to March 2014 I was an active member of Global Creatives Network Zagreb. There I received training from Mr. Tetsuya Kaida on Toyota’s corporate value creation and innovation. As part of an interdisciplinary team I worked on development of a concept car solution, which we had the honour of presenting to Toyota’s leading R&D engineer.
During the 6-month internship at Kongsberg Protech Systems as a process engineer I gained hands-on experience with Lean, and applying my theoretical knowledge, improved existing operations as well as their Lean programme. Later, as a design engineer at Đuro Đaković Special Vehicles, I dealt with broad array of issues, from communication with customers to resolving quality related issues in design, as well as manufacturing/operations. Due to my educational background and enthusiasm for quality, I was also involved with quality audits, process improvement, deployment of EU directives, standards, and quality policy (quality manual, procedures, work instructions).
Today, I’m working a lot with start-ups and entrepreneurs, applying my industrial engineering and Lean knowledge in a fast moving environment. It is quite exciting and challenging as error margins are tighter and stakes are higher, but it also makes for a lot of new learning and personal development. I’m loving it.
Besides work, I am involved with the Lean community through academic and business networks, publishing on bpesec.com, The Lean Presentation and Playing Lean blogs, as well as continuously reading articles and books on various industrial engineering topics. As a long-time passionate student of traditional Japanese martial arts, the values of renshuu and kaizen are deeply embedded in my being. They are an important part of my lifestyle, and are not something I have to think about consciously. I also understand the importance of katas and sensei.
Martial arts have always been a part of my life. Wherever I lived, I trained. Besides physical and emotional benefits, I’ve found that a lot of lessons apply to the business environment as well. I would like to pay it forward, and share what I have learned.
Traditional martial arts can bring so much to ones life. In addition to a stronger body and ability to protect yourself and your loved ones, you also develop your confidence, appreciation for culture, manners, and strengthen your spirit. A lot of lessons can be applied to business world, from self-composure to importance of thoughtful repetition to winning over much stronger challengers.
I have been a proud member of Genbukan World Ninpo Bugei Federation and Mangetsu Dojo Croatia since 2008. Now, I am starting a Genbukan Group in Oslo. If you’d like to help, consider sharing the following link www.bpesec.com/genbukan
Industrial Engineer. Lean Practitioner. Martial Artist.