There are a number of articles and books written on lean manufacturing techniques and lean construction, including many in the pages of Snips about applying lean in sheet metal shops. This article will highlight basic lean principles and tools specific to the spiral fabrication shop.
Lean’s purpose is to add value and drive out waste. Your shop exists to serve your customers — not to produce lots of metal. All fabrication plans and processes should be aimed at delivering better value to your customers. Value is a useful (aka quality) product with the least amount of cost (price paid, time and hassle). There are seven basic wastes shop owners and managers should want to destroy (See sidebar). Focusing on lean can change the way some people operate in their shops. Contractors seek to deliver products when needed and in the best way possible to enable quick installation.