Pilot Study: Applying Lean to Factory Home Building
Lean production is an approach to manufacturing that strives to eliminate all kinds of waste (time, money, materials, etc.) while creating a culture within the plant of continuous improvement. Lean processes have long been used in other industries, notably automotive, to improve quality while reducing the overall cost of production; however, they are relatively new to the factory built housing industry.
Nine manufactured and modular home production plants were trained and coached in the implementation of lean production methods to their manufacturing facilities. Representatives from each plant attended a week-long training workshop on lean production conducted by the Manufactured Housing Research Alliance (MHRA). Following the workshop, researchers from MHRA helped plant employees analyze their production process using a lean production tool known as value stream mapping. Value stream mapping helped the plants identify waste and target specific portions of the production process for intensive improvement activities known as rapid process improvement (RPI) events, conducted with MHRA support.