22. Jul. 2016

Operational excellence in process industry

by Jayanth Murthy

With hypercompetitive market environment, the competition is getting intense. Increasingly organizations from all sectors & all sizes are looking at Kaizen/ Lean to eliminate waste across their value chain which ultimately helps them drive costs down and deliver quality goods & services to customers. This white paper is an attempt to capture the applicability & importance of Kaizen/ Lean to the process industry.

Kaizen/ Lean is considered to be readily applicable only to discrete/ product manufacturing companies. People from continuous process plants/ businesses shy away from KAIZEN™ and often consider it irrelevant. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM®) has made great inroads into the process industry but TPM® combined with classical Lean results in greater benefits.

While TPM®, as per JIPM, can be very powerful but many times TPM® is partially understood & partially deployed. The results are normally related to OEE/ MTTR/ MTBF improvements while this has impact on throughput time & inventory, nevertheless its indirect.

Classical Kaizen/ Lean

KAIZEN™ focuses on waste elimination while TPM® focuses more on higher asset utilization. This is debatable; however the need for classical Lean in process industry is high. This results in shorter manufacturing throughput time and thus reducing inventory in pipeline related benefits.

Actions recommended:

1.       Current state analysis & setting goals for future state.

2.       Balancing the line so as to create smoother throughput.

3.       Finding ways & means to eliminate temporary storage, staging, holding vessels.

4.       Eliminating redundancies in equipment by improving reliability.

5.       Potential for reduction in cleaning/ changeover/ startup time.


KAIZEN™ / Lean have a tremendous scope in process environment.

  1. The first visible change is to create a dust free work environment.
  2. It has been observed, over & above TPM, Kaizen/ Classical Lean in the improvement program of process industry results in ~30% reduction in cost of production/ conversion.
  3. This directly adds to the bottom-line while simultaneously customers receive on time delivery & high quality products.

In case you missed it, our last post was about “A Japanese technique for overcoming laziness.”

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