A Factory on a "Diet"?
Read the article and answer me this: did Columbia Aircraft have this bass-ackwards? They were facing booming demand (350% increase), yet they delayed lean for 12 months until after the growth.
“The decision to adopt Lean Manufacturing principles was made 12 months ago,” stated Bing Lantis, president & CEO of Columbia. “However the short-term need to rapidly increase production in order to meet growing demand and reduce the backlog superseded the Lean initiative.”
So, how did they manage the growth without lean?
“This meant adding more production employees, increasing the footprint of the manufacturing facility & increasing inventories. That phase is complete and daily production volume is commensurate with demand. Now a Lean Manufacturing team will help Columbia improve efficiency across all manufacturing operations.”
Ugh, typical mass production thinking, that more production requires MORE of everything. Imagine if they had used lean and eliminated waste, rather than duplicating that waste into a bigger factory. They could have increased production without as many extra employees, as much extra space, and as much extra inventory.
Now that the growth is done, they will go back and take away all of that? Reduce space that they just expanded into? Get rid of people they just hired?
It’s a shame that leadership didn’t see Lean as a tool that could help them grow. What do you think? Are we being too hard on them? Better to come to Lean at the 11th hour than not at all? What do you think? Ever used lean to help drive growth instead of in a shrinking business?