Lean Innovating A New Manufacturing Service

Lean Innovating A New Manufacturing Service

After 20 plus years skirting around the edges of manufacturing, I had often had the pleasure of working alongside my team-mates but merely as a 3rd party technical lead, trouble shooter, business analyst and software developer.

Until this project, I had never truly experienced the pleasure of being full time embedded in a manufacturing team which is empowered to lean a radically new service from scratch.  If you read no further, at least know this …

“I have never had so much fun with my clothes on!”

At this point your most likely correctly thinking “Brendon … Get A Life”, the only defence I can offer is … when you go to bed with a problem and dream up new ideas and then arise in the new day with exciting new solutions and a passion for problem solving (social or commercial) a measure of understanding may quickly follow.

“Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination” – Drake

This was an unique personal project from the outset.  The search for this project began in my deep desire to rise to the most difficult of personal challenges as I journeyed into the largely unknown.  I was wide eyed with excitement to build, measure and learn from this lean innovation opportunity.  The initial project approach was …

Plan: Find a challenging project to facilitate my continued research into “How Can Innovation Work For SME’s?”

Do: Learn through a process of scientific experimentation using a ‘Build-Measure-Learn’ (Ries, 2011) approach to explore possible ways forward

Check: Measure the value add, metrics of success (lean metrics) and waste elimination utilising ‘Voice of the Customer Methods’ (Cooper 2010)

Act: Implement a system of service processes as part of a lean supply chain.  Deliver to the customer ‘what is needed, when it is needed, where it is needed, how it is needed’ (Tompkins and Harmelink 2004).  Achieve all this ‘right first time, every time’.  Achieve and then exceed customer expectations with a growing demand for this new manufacturing service.

Indeed from a personal perspective, the journey would be more valuable than the destination but the project nuts and bolts would have to deliver key measures of customer and business success.

During a check-in with my project sponsor, the sponsor asked “So hows your lean project progressing?”, with a dirty big grin I replied …

 “To me … its a Disneyland for ideas”


As a technical project manager leading a RibWorld team we built a new in-house manufacturing supply chain transportation and chilling service which had previously been entirely out-sourced.  In comparison, the new frugal service realised an increase to 98% ‘Right-first-time’ conformance from what was 40%.  The service cycle time decreased from 14-30 days to 9-14 days.  The daily in-take storage capacity for pallets increased from 120 of 3 product lines to 300 pallets of up to 15 product lines in effect doubling the initial in-house service capacity.  In so doing, the new service dramatically reduced waste from the supply chain and added substantive value, new cost savings and possible revenue streams via a new lean innovated supply chain chilling and transportation service.

Lean Innovating A New Manufacturing Service

To read more about the ‘Nuts & Bolts’ of this project ‘Lean Innovating A New Manufacturing Service’ and access the case study please visit:






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