Precast Consulting Service
Finance, Marketing &
What's this all about?
You can reduce waste as
an ongoing way of life. Lower your cost.
What's Lean Manufacturing? It
is a method of looking at costs so that continuous improvement is focused
on the areas of greatest payoff. The analysis phase looks at each
production operation and separates tasks into value added and waste.
Value added means doing something the customer is willing to pay for, such
as casting a piece. Waste is everything else, such as setup, transport
of product or materials within your plantsite, rework, and similar activities
that don't do anything for the customer. Typically value added is
less than 10% of work done in the plant. A focus on waste will reduce
costs, a lot.
It's being done by other
What are typical wastes in precast? Although
Lean started with Toyota in the auto industry, it has has proven to have
an excellent application to precast. Here are examples of waste that
can be reduced:
Lack of standard methods - Disorganization
Redundant process steps
Bed set-up waste
Inefficient handling/transport of product
or materials within the plant or yard
Unnecessary finished goods inventory
Waiting for the crane, mix, parts, inserts
Walking to get materials - ineffective material
flow or layout. Walking, walking, walking
Waiting for instructions, waiting for drawings,
waiting for this-that-or-another.
Looking for tools, looking for parts, looking
Checking, counting, measuring
Excessive finishing costs
You can easily add to this list
So what's different about Lean? Lean
is based on continuous improvement. It focuses on waste. Action
is taken at the work group level with the participation of the work group.
Lean is about working smarter. This is a winning formula.
Here is what you need to remember:
Lean is not high tech - it is low tech.
Lean is about great ideas that cost little
or no money
Lean is about teamwork, involvement of work
Lean is about making small continuous improvements
What results are producers achieving? About
5% of precast producers have a Lean initiative underway. Here are
results that are typically achieved. In a commodity industry where
profit margins are typically under 10%, these gains are important gains.
Many producers will want to take initiative.
Labor productivity improved 20% - per year.
Production increased 50% or more without spending
Defects and rework reduced 50% or more
Supervisory overhead reduced, management layers
What's the problem? This is not
a piece of cake. Here are some common stumbling blocks:
Management commitment for a sustain effort
- this is not a fad
Producers usually suffer initial setbacks.
This will transform the way you do business. That's not easy.
Willingness to involve employees at the workgroup
level is essential but is not part of the management style in many plants.
For more info, click here
Requires a dedicated leader, typically 1%
of head count. A lean initiative will fail if becomes one more duty
for an operations employee. It has to be somebody's exclusive job
with goals and accountability.
Start off with a local Lean consultant.
This is not DIY.
Presentation: For a copy of the
Lean presentation recently made at several precast producer conferences,
here. (Note: this may take several minutes to download
if you have a telephone modem)
Lean in Non-manufacturing operations
You may think that Lean is only
associated with manufacturing processes. Not so. In fact, Lean
is all about eliminating waste, standardization, and continuous improvement.
In the precast industry this approach has been applied successfully to
the engineering and design process, and to the project management process.
Lean in Project Management click here
What can Precast Consulting
Help you get started. We are
not a Lean consulting firm. We think that is best done locally.
We get you started on the right foot and guide the process.
Help find & evaluate a local Lean consultant.
The consultant will be an expert in Lean but will probably know nothing
about precast. Precast is very different than line manufacturing.
We help the consultant get started on precast; do what works at other producers.
You will engage the Lean consultant directly,
not subcontract through Precast Consulting.
Most Lean initiatives in the precast industry
fail on first try. We can steer you around the common problems others
have had. This will save you a great deal of both money and opportunity
We recommend that you train an employee to
take plant leadership. We can help you with selection, training,
and the subsequent governance structure of the process.
Significant state financial training assistance
is typically available click here
Help with workgroup effectiveness.
Lean must engage the workgroup or it will fail. We have a lot of
experience in this area. For an overview, click
here. For a copy of the presentation made at PCI Productivity
Workshop, click here.
(Note: this may take several minutes to download if you have
a telephone modem)
Help with organizational design.
Lean will transform your organization. We can bring our experience
with the best strategies to do that.
What's worked elsewhere. We can
help guide your team in finding the best payoff and most promising avenues
based on what's worked elsewhere.
for the Precast Industry