It's Not Easy Being Lean

In seven months, a chip-fabrication plant reduced wafer-manufacturing costs by 12 percent and cycle time by 67 percent. How'd they do it?

2 min read

Everyone wants to be the Lance Armstrong of lean business these days. Health-care operations want to get lean; manufacturers of every stripe want to get lean; even personal-improvement coaches want to help us get lean.

Lean manufacturing comes in many flavors. The most admired, and for long the least understood, is what's known as the Toyota Production System (TPS), an empirical method that aims for the complete elimination of waste and mistakes by continually and incrementally improving the process. TPS also makes that improvement--and thus the quality of the final product--the active responsibility of every person in the company, from the most junior worker to the CEO.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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