PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

Getting Lean: Assessing the Benefits of
Lean Production in Factory Built Housing

FULL TEXT: [IMAGE: bullet image] Adobe Acrobat *.pdf, 2.99 MB

NOTE: Adobe Reader is required to download, view, and/or print PDF files. If your computer does not have this software, you must first download Adobe Reader and follow the installation instructions before accessing PDF files from PATH's Web site.

December 2005, 85 pages

Lean production techniques save manufacturers in many industries time and money. Why not housing?

The construction techniques used today in HUD-code and modular housing have changed very little in the past 50 years. This report discusses ways for factory home-building plants to improve efficiency, increase capacity without additional plant or equipment, and reduce costs by using "lean production" techniques. These techniques have helped to catapult production efficiencies in other industrial sectors, notably automobiles.

The first section presents findings from a study of 141 plants about plant performance. Using key benchmarking measurements, such as average absenteeism, use of plant capacity and average labor turnover, the study concludes that the industry has "ample room for improvement" in its quality and performance.

The second section, a case study of the Capsys Corporation modular housing plant, identifies specific opportunities to improve the efficiency and productivity of product design and manufacturing operations. Capsys managers and a team of engineers found that little capital investment but significant cultural and operational change among the management could significantly improve production labor efficiency, increase capacity, and reduce costs.

Key Findings

A number of low-cost ways to improve efficiency and performance start with a "lean" attitude toward production. That means satisfying the customer by delivering the highest quality at the lowest cost in the shortest time.

Top Ten Recommendations for Lean Production Improvements



1. Expedite electrical process


2. Spread line activity by moving work upstream


3. Rationalize material staging and replenishment


4. Purchase right-sized materials


5. Use the right tool for the job


6. Create sub-assembly cells


7. Use positioning guides and jigs


8. Reduce welding


9. Re-engineer roof slope


10. Order the workplace


For an explanation of this table, see page 35.

Content updated on 8/2/2007

 |  |  |  |  |  

Builders Remodelers Manufacturers Design Professionals Affordable Housing Providers Realtors, Appraisers Insurance Industry Financial Services Researchers HOMEOWNERS

Home |  Search PATHnet |  Contact Us |  Privacy Policy

Graphical Version