Earlier this year, The Economist published an article on Honeywell’s dramatic plant floor improvements through their lean efforts.
The article quoted the improvements at one plant:
It used to take 42 days to make and deliver a sophisticated toxic-gas detector, for clients including Intel and Samsung; now it takes ten. The production process used to consume the factory floor; now, it uses merely a quarter of it. This has freed up the rest of the factory to make lots of other products.
The factory therefore makes more stuff, generating more revenue, with essentially the same headcount, square footage and energy consumption.
The article mentions that Honeywell developed their own version of Toyota’s production system after visiting Toyota for two weeks.
Here are my top three lessons learned from this article:
- Toyota was the pioneer of Lean. It is good to understand what they did and why it worked.
- It is important to adapt Lean to your environment. Toyota created a great system for themselves. Other firms needs to build their own system to suit their needs.
- You need to take Lean deep into your organization. To make Lean work, you need to spend time and effort educating everyone in your organization.