Lean and Green in Texas
Thomas L. Friedman (free access via Denver Post):
Although the focus of this column is on the environmental advantages of the new Texas Instruments fab in suburban Dallas, I think there's a nice “lean” story here, as well. Toyota has placed a big focus on “lean and green“, which makes sense… classic lean and environmental conservation are all in the category of waste reduction.
“TI always wanted to keep its newest wafer factory near Dallas so it would be near its design center and ideas could flow back and forth. But China, Taiwan and Singapore were all tempting alternatives, offering low wages, subsidies and tax breaks. So the TI leadership laid down a challenge: TI could locate its new wafer factory in Richardson, if the TI design team and community leaders could find a way to build it for $180 million less than its last Dallas factory, erected in the late 1990s.
That would make its cost-per-wafer competitive with any overseas plant's.
Although the TI engineers initially thought it impossible, they pulled it off.”
There are some nice elements of this story:
- Management wanted to keep the fab in the U.S. for strategic reasons (faster product development), but also needed to meet traditional cost hurdles.
- Management challenged the team to get creative and they found innovative solutions that were good for the environment AND saved the company money
Congrats to the team at TI!
If you've never read Friedman's book “The World is Flat,” you should check it out, it's a good read and globalization.
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