New LEI Case Study – Canada Post
Good case study (with pictures) on applying lean thinking to non-manufacturing environments. The Canada Post team focused on flow, even going so far as to eliminate a giant automated sorting machine with a manual cell that was much smaller. I've seen many cases where getting rid of automation actually helps, that's very counterintuitive in the traditional manufacturing mindset (especially when the automation was originally put in with the justification of improving “efficiency”!).
“I used to think that we weren't a manufacturing company; we didn't produce anything,” said Don McLellan, director, mail operations, at the Calgary facility, “but you can lean out mail operations. What we're looking for is flow; in one door and out another.” They also applied value stream mapping, standard work, takt time, work balancing, visual controls and other lean tools.