At St. Paul Foundry we are using lean concepts to reduce landfill waste and lower energy consumption. Sustainable practices are a stated value. Green practices have resulted in significant cost savings and improved efficiencies.
Lean practices translate into faster time to market, which means we have industry-leading lead-times as low as six production days on make-to-order POs for significant-volume jobs —while holding no inventory. Our Kanban programs have a zero-day lead-time.
Lean History — Lean manufacturing has deep American roots. Benjamin Franklin wrote repeatedly about wasted time, reducing costs, and managing inventory. Frederick Taylor, the father of scientific management, made many contributions that can be seen as precursors to lean, but perhaps most important was the idea of continuous, incremental improvement backed up by measurable facts.
Franklin and Taylor influenced Henry Ford. In My Life and Work Ford wrote: “I believe that the average farmer puts to a really useful purpose only about 5% of the energy he expends. … Not only is everything done by hand, but also seldom is a thought given to a logical arrangement. A farmer doing his chores will walk up and down a rickety ladder a dozen times. He will carry water for years instead of putting in a few lengths of pipe. His whole idea, when there is extra work to do, is to hire extra men. He thinks of putting money into improvements as an expense. … It is waste motion— waste effort— that makes farm prices high and profits low.”
Edward Deming brought a synthesized model of the work of Ford and Taylor along with the statistical methods of Walter Shewhart to postwar Japan. Japanese industry experienced rapid growth in technology, quality, productivity, and market share as a result of adopting Deming’s recommendations.
Toyota took the work of Franklin, Taylor, Ford, and Deming and created the Toyota Production System, or TPS. It wasn’t really something new, but Toyota took the old, proven ideas and squished them around until they looked like something different. TPS is often referred to synonymously with Lean Technology.