Made to Order Lean: Excelling in a High-Mix, Low-Volume Environment

  • 3h 8m
  • Greg Lane
  • CRC Press
  • 2007

Toyota Production System methods have rendered remarkable results in high-volume manufacturing plants, but they have not been fully understood and correctly applied in high-mix, low-volume environments. While lean principles do apply, the implementation methods and tools must be adapted and alternate methods embraced in a low-volume environment. Made-to-Order Lean is specifically geared for manufacturers that have hundreds to thousands of active part numbers with few or no ongoing forecasted volumes, and for job shops that build only to order. The primary focus is eliminating non-value-added activities and instituting improvements on the most repetitive jobs, a strategy that gives you more time to produce your low-volume work or one-offs.

About the Author

Greg Lane earned his master of business administration from California State University in 1989 and his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1986. He is a faculty member of the Lean Enterprise Institute.

While working with Toyota, Greg was one of a handful of candidates selected for a one-year training program conducted by Toyota’s masters. He became a Toyota Production System (TPS) Key Person and continued his work with Toyota by training others in TPS.

Since 1992, he has been working on implementing lean around the world, supporting large and small companies alike. In 1998, he began to refocus his lean endeavors on meeting the specific needs of high-mix, low-volume enterprises. Although his work is geared to companywide improvements, Greg has also worked with individual departments—purchasing, engineering, finance, planning—to improve efficiencies, reduce lead times, and reduce costs.

During his time as an independent consultant, Greg purchased and operated (for almost six years) his own manufacturing company which specialized in fast turnaround on high-mix, low-volume parts. Greg used TPS to grow the business and nearly double its sales. He sold the business at a profit to concentrate on supporting others in lean implementation.

In this Book

  • Managing Visually
  • Management Auditing—Standardized Work for Managers
  • Associating a Time with All Work
  • Utilizing Day-by-Hour and FIFO Boards
  • Making Improvements When You’re Short of Capacity
  • Making Improvements When You Have Excess Capacity
  • Using Value Stream Mapping in a Low-Volume Environment
  • Becoming Aware of Your Inventory and Using Pull Systems
  • Making Manpower Improvements
  • Improving Machine Performance and Plant Layout
  • Making Improvements through Office Department Kaizen
  • Making Improvements through Office Process Kaizen
  • Improving Your Product Costing