Strategos Lean Briefing

The Newsletter of Lean Manufacturing Strategy
Drop Down Menu

Building The Big Stuff

Manufacturing Strategy for Planes, Trains , Boilers, etc.

Kansas City

20 MAR 2015

Issue# 90

Kansas City                                                                                                                         20 MAR 2015

During World War II, Henry Kaiser's shipyard could build an entire Liberty ship in 4.5 days. So why should it take months to build a pressure vessel, power transformer or switchgear station?  Or weeks to overhaul a rail car?

Large, often unique products present unique challenges for manufacturing. Many of the Lean techniques practiced at Toyota simply do not apply. In the past year we have worked with the manufacturers of several such products and identified certain principles can help in planning processes and arranging factories for these situations.

Application of these principles can lead to:

  • Space Reduction

  • Faster Delivery

  • Improved Cash Flow

  • Fewer Design Changes

  • Better Quality

It starts with a simple exercise that demonstrates the advantages of concentrating resources on just a few jobs at any one time. This exercise, however, raises multiple objections and problems. Just as quality problems should be addressed at their source, such difficulties should be addressed at a fundamental level. Some of the topics we discuss are:

  • Resource Allocation

  • Scheduling

  • Space Usage

  • Plant Layout

  • Workflow

  • Engineering Design

  • Engineering Quality

  • Customer Pressures

  • Interruptions

  • Labor Efficiency

  • Cash Flow

Check out the pages on Building the Big Stuff or download the entire series in a PDF file. If your products are big, bulky and expensive, you will find these pages intriguing.

We also offer training and facilitating in Manufacturing Strategy. Please feel free to call me at the number below to explore the possibilities.

Best Regards,

Quarterman Lee


Email Us at Strategos, Inc.


Lean Briefing Archive Issues

Drop Down Menu


Strategos, Inc.

 3916 Wyandotte - Kansas City MO 64111

 816-931-1414 -

The Strategos Guide To Value Stream and Process Mapping goes  beyond symbols and arrows. In over 163 pages it tells the reader not only how to do it but what to do with it.

Lean Briefing is only sent to those who subscribe or those who download from the Strategos website.

Books & Videos

Guide to Cycle Counting

Warehouse Planning Guide

Human Side of Lean Video