Lean Manufacturing is a management philosophy based on the successful production system developed nearly 60 years ago by the Toyota Motor Corp. The concept gained popularity in the early '80s, when struggling U.S. businesses practicing traditional manufacturing methods began looking for ways to improve their operations to compete in a rapidly changing global marketplace.
Although Lean Manufacturing is a wide-ranging philosophy built around five interrelated principles, it boils down to taking a comprehensive look at your processes with the goal being to reduce waste, improve workflow and enhance product value. When Whip Mix Corp. implemented Lean principles into its facility, the result was a tremendous impact on operations, including a 35.5% reduction in inventory costs; 60% increase in productivity (based on sales per person); and 187% increase in on-time delivery.
The company's management team soon realized that the Lean principles could be equally beneficial to laboratory owners and managers and the Lean Advantage™ program was born. In addition to lab-specific consulting services, the program includes several products designed for greater efficiency:
- Formula 1 Select Program that ensures investment consistency by supplying a three-month supply of a single batch that Whip Mix stores until the laboratory needs it.
- Xcavator, an automatic unit that saves an hour or more of divesting time.
- AquaSpense dispensers that measure the precise amount of powder and dispense the exact amount of liquid, providing accuracy and predictability of fit.
- Pro 100 porcelain furnace that has a built-in cooling feature to reduce wait time between firing cycles.
- Lean Rock die stone that offers better batch control, quicker triple tray processing and allows models to be removed from the impression and processed in as little as 15 minutes.