Material Handling Consultants, Inc. is a World Class industrial engineering firm
which specializes in the planning, design, integration, and implementation
systems for the manufacturing, transportation, and distribution industries.
Lean and Agile
Are you are familiar with the kind of results that Lean & Agile can have
on an operation*?
90% reductions in inventory
Inventory turns from 20 to 50 turns per year
90% reductions in lead time
Reductions in product development time, from years to months
30% reductions in human effort
67% reductions in
* Source, from the book “Lean Thinking” by James P. Womack and Daniel T.
These are substantiated “real world” results that some manufacturers
have achieved in their existing operations.
If your are not familiar with Lean and Agile techniques we offer the
following excerpts of a pen manufacturing comparison from the book
"The Perfect Engine" by Anand Sharma and Patricia E. Moody.
This simple example highlight the difference between Mass Production and
"A pen is an assembly of about a dozen metal and plastic components and
one subassembly. To build a single red pen using the mass
production method, many big pieces of equipment and a series of human
assemblers would be brought together to produce huge batches of shells,
cartridges, and clip subassemblies. The entire production might
take two dozen process steps, from cutting, shaping, and painting raw
metal to inserting a cartridge supplied by an outside supplier, testing
the pen, and packaging it for shipment with thousands of others".
"Typically, if a customer wanted to order one dozen red ink pens and two
dozen black pens, he might not to expect to receive the completed order
for several days or weeks unless it happens to be available from
"The production sequence of operations, following raw material cutting,
would include running large batches of individual components through
various operations, to eventually meet at final assembly. On the
way these component batches move several times back to material storage
areas where they get counted and recounted and wait to be moved again.
At every process step, actual batch quantities change due to quality
problems, a typical batch-and-queue process."
"Actual valued added time, from material cutting, machining, painting,
assembly, and packaging, is only a few minutes. But with a
batch-and-queue setup, the complete process takes an undetermined amount
of time. Nonetheless, eventually, the customer will accumulate the
pieces of his original order for one dozen red and two dozen black
Lean and Agile Production
"Lean production methods are rooted in simple flow production based on
actual demand. Everyone in the operation, and especially the
customer, understands that what will ship and when, because the entire
process is laid out and run to be visible. Machines and operators
work to meet the customer's pull signal; cells bring people and material
so close it is possible to change configurations very quickly, and ti
identify and fix problems equally well."
"The pen cell runs with fewer operators and has no automated conveyors
or warehousing systems, capital investment and automation are kept
appropriately under control. One dozen red and two dozen black
pens are produced in minutes, and in sequence, packed and shipped."
It is easy to see the advantages of the Lean and Agile approach:
Is more manageable
Easy to expand
Produces higher quality with less waste
Is more compatible with e-commerce web-based demand-pull
If we are to carry Lean and Agile through to the distribution channels
what we begin to see is a reduction in inventories. Distributors
place smaller orders with more frequency. This reduction in
inventory frees capital, reduces the size requirements of the facility,
reduces the amount of storage equipment and conveying equipment
required, and would change the size and composition of their outgoing
orders as well. Transportation companies would see smaller but
more frequent shipments changing the composition makeup of their fleets,
fewer larger trucks and more smaller trucks. The opportunity to
turn inventories 20 to 50 times annually offer a substantial financial
Is Lean and Agile Right For Your Operation?
While there is no right answer suitable for everyone, most firms would
benefit from the Kaizen process improvement program normally associated
with Lean and Agile implementation.
If you have an interest in considering Lean & Agile manufacturing
techniques, we would be pleased and able to assist you. It may be
possible to integrate Lean & Agile process changes in to your operations
and achieve some excellent results, not to mention productivity. We
would be pleased to discuss the approach that we utilize to assist
companies move toward Lean & Agile World Class
The Visioneering workshop is designed to engage your people into a team
effort to learn and then apply Lean and Agile methodology to
your specific operation. During the 3 to 4 day
seminar, your employees are encouraged to focus on their
unique problems. Through out the course of the seminar we will assist in
prioritizing the problems.
Together we will develop “solutions” to their
problems, prepare implementation plans, budgetary estimates, and
preliminary schedules. At the end of the seminar, your teams
will formally present their process improvement
plans to your management team. You will have a list
of projects for your management team to evaluate, prioritize, and
This is not a flashy “academic” information presentation. It is a
“hands on” workshop which leaves you with actual target projects for
improving your operation.
Together with our strategic partner, we have conducted over 400
workshops for our clients. We have specific and Visioneering
models for use with manufacturing and distribution operations.
If you would like some additional on the Visioneering Workshop, please
contact us at Info@MHC-INC.com
Please include your contact information.
Want to Learn More About Lean and Agile?
If you are not familiar with Lean and Agile techniques, may we
respectfully recommend a book titled Lean Thinking, buy James P. Womack
and Daniel T. Jones. It is an excellent book as well as an easy read. It
is also available, abridged, on CD or cassette for that long commute.