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One More Time: Lean Is Not Just For High-Volume Producers

Lean is just as applicable for a company constructing an office building, as it is to an automotive manufacturer. The key is to compare how a process is expected to operate with how it actually operates. If the plan was to install drywall in eight offices on the third floor today, for example, and the team was only able to complete five offices, understanding the reasons (e.g., missing tools, poor quality drywall, or poorly aligned studs) and taking appropriate actions should help tomorrow’s work flow more smoothly. Continue reading

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Who is the Customer for a Commodity?

Market prices have such a dramatic effect on the financial results of commodity producers that when prices are high, little attention is given to waste, and when prices are low, costs are often slashed without regard to waste. Providing clarity around the definition of waste, however, can drive improvement and lower the commodity price at which the company can remain profitable. Also, reducing waste in processes, as compared to slashing costs, tends to result in safer processes and higher levels of production. Continue reading