Consultants in Lean Manufacturing Á Manufacturing Strategy

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Strategos Lean Manufacturing—Information-Training-Consulting

Lean Facilities, Manufacturing & Operations Strategy


Lean Manufacturing & Operations

Lean ManufacturingLean is about eliminating waste. It consists of a set of attitudes, philosophies, principles, analysis tools and specific work structures that form a production system. Lean is, essentially, a prescriptive or pre-packaged Manufacturing Strategy that fits many (but not all) situations. At Strategos, we try to take a pragmatic and flexible view.

Here you will find many articles explaining Lean Manufacturing and Operations as well as the various elements. There are tools for analysis, downloads of Excel templates and forms. There are simulations and many real-life examples.

Facility Planning & Plant Layout

Facility Planning & Plant LayoutFacilities (land, buildings, equipment) provide the physical capability to add value and create products. The most common manifestation of facility planning (or lack thereof) is the Plant Layout. An effective layout incorporates and enables the manufacturing strategy on which it is based. Lean strategy starts with workflow and workflow is the result of process and layout. Mr. Lee has authored two books and many articles on Plant Layout and Facility Planning. His approach is organized, practical and systematic.

Manufacturing & Operations Strategy

Manufacturing & Operations StrategyManufacturing Strategy flows from the premise that a factory design, as any engineering design, is a compromise between competing objectives and various constraints. We can optimize the design for one or two objectives (such as cost, quality, delivery, new products) but not all. Manufacturing Strategy starts in marketing. It asks questions such as:

How do we intend to compete? or...

Why do customers buy from us instead of the competitors?

The answers to these questions lead to the "Key Manufacturing Task(s)." Manufacturing must excel at this task to win orders in the marketplace. The task may be cost, flexibility or another of several dimensions. From this Key Manufacturing Task, a set of policies flow that guide daily operations and decisions for purchasing equipment, setting priorities or designing a plant layout (for example).

About This Website

We intend our site to be a source of knowledge and information. The many articles, tools, downloads and products come directly from our consulting and managing experience...Sitemap. xx

Kanban for The Job Shop

Kanban is normally thought of as a lean technique for repetitive, high-volume environments. But many job shops can use kanban for all or part of their scheduling. We just have to approach it from a different perspective. If your shop has high variety and low volume, this unique approach to kanban may be able to simplify scheduling and speed deliveries.


Our new web page, Kanban For The Job Shop, discusses the what, when and how. This page is based on my upcoming presentation at the  Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers annual conference

Quarterman Lee Received Honorable Mention for Best Paper

About Strategos

For more than 25 years the Strategos team has helped clients understand and improve business and manufacturing operations. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, we travel the world for training and consulting. More about Strategos>>

Our marketing premise is simple: If we share knowledge, insights and experience freely, some of you will want more than words on a website, remember us, and call.

I hope you find your visits here interesting and thought provoking. There is a lot to explore, so take your time.

Quarterman Lee                Send Us An Email

Lean Manufacturing Consulting

Use the Past–Manage the Present–Prepare the Future

Our mature and experienced consultants offer more than just technical expertise. Through hundreds of projects we have learned how to build consensus and merge our knowledge with the more detailed knowledge of the client's personnel. Use Consulting for:

  • Intractable-Recurring Problems.

Intractable-Recurring Problems.

When problems seem to recur every few weeks or every few years, it is a strong indication that the root cause has not been found or corrected.

We can help your team identify the root cause, develop permanent solutions. At the same time they will be learning the skills necessary for continued problem-solving.

  • Disagreement/Strong Opinions

Widely Diverging/Strongly Held Opinions

Organizations frequently have individuals with strong, differing and/or opposing opinions. This can paralyze action or lead to conflicting actions, decisions and policies. Or, it can lead to unwise strategies.

The consultant is in a unique position to discover new facts, explore different perspectives, inspire creativity and gain consensus.

  • Too Much Agreement

Too Much Agreement

George S. Patton said "If everybody's thinking alike, nobody is thinking.

This is known as "the Abilene Paradox" and is often found in companies with strong cultures. It may come from a corporate culture that emphasizes cooperation, civility and agreement at any cost. It can also arise when a company or industry has enjoyed great success and the attitudes, techniques and values that created that success have been institutionalized but are no longer valid.

  • Once-In-A-Decade Designs

Once-In-A-Decade Designs

Some types of projects such as a new facility plan or Manufacturing Strategy development are so infrequent it is rare that a company has much in-house experience.

A consultant can help to guide such projects effectively. These types of projects ideally meld the experience and detailed knowledge of those in the company with the wider ranging experience of the consultant.

  • Developing In-House Expertise

Developing In-House Expertise

Consulting combined with training is often the best approach for developing in-house expertise. "Book learning" has its limitations and a consultant can notice subtle effects or unusual phenomena that would otherwise create problems.

This is particularly important in Cellular Manufacturing where worker attitudes and inclinations play an important role. Small changes can make the difference between success, failure or sub-optimization. Many other areas of Lean are similar in this respect.

Sound Theory—Practical Execution

Strategos consulting projects range from quick assessments to the planning of major factories, offices  and warehouses. We can guide the development of your Manufacturing Strategy at the highest level or assist 5S on the factory floor. We can execute all of the work or guide a mixed project team. Strategos Consulting>>

Strategos Lean Training


Give your people the skills to solve their own problems. We provide lean training that addresses the specific situations they face every day. Often with a case study from your own facility. The result is a trained cadre of employees and an actual:

  • Problem Solved

  • Workcell Designed

  • Value Stream Mapped

  • Process Simplified

Strategos training employs proven principles of Adult Learning. It is full of videos, dialogue, exercises and experiential learning. Instructional methods alternate frequently to maintain interest and address the learning modes of individual participants.

Our "Learning Team" approach engages participants, increases discussion and allows for large overall sessions (50 or more).  Standard  Lean Training Programs >>

Our Expertise

Manufacturing Strategy

Forge Your Most Potent Competitive Weapon

Manufacturing Strategy

Forge Your Most Potent Competitive Weapon

Manufacturing Strategy is the overall philosophy or policy that guides the design and operation of a factory. A well-thought-out Manufacturing Strategy flows from and supports marketing by optimizing those factors that bring success in the marketplace (e.g. quality, customization, price, delivery). We have been employing the work of Wickham Skinner, Wheelwright, Hill and others in practical situations for several decades. We have also seen the unfortunate results of the failure to think through strategic issues. We can assist you in the discussion, debate and development of your Manufacturing Strategy.

 Lean Manufacturing

Streamline Operations: Quality—Productivity—Speed

Lean Manufacturing

Streamline Operations for Quality, Productivity & Speed

Strategos consultants have been designing and implementing Lean Manufacturing for many years--before Lean was known as Lean. We have contributed to the literature of Lean through hundreds of seminars, articles and papers as well as with this website. Through this experience we have developed procedures, rules of thumb and techniques to bring Lean to industries where the concepts seemed inapplicable.

Facility Planning & Layout

Make the Most of Space & Workflow

Facility Planning & Layout

Make the Most of Space & Workflow

Strategos consultants have written three of the most popular books on facilities planning. We have done hundreds of facility plans from site-level to workstation level using our systematic and structured approaches.

Cellular Manufacturing

Integrate People, Process, Product & Technology

Cellular Manufacturing

Integrate People, Process, Product & Technology

Mr. Lee has been designing and implementing workcells for more than 30 years--long before Toyota made them popular. While Toyota cells are ideally suited for Toyota, they do not work well in many non-Toyota environments. Our structured design approach helps design optimum workcells in a wide variety of environments, including many job shops.

Value Stream & Process Mapping

Make Any Process Smoother, Better & Faster

Value Stream & Process Mapping

Make Any Process Smoother, Better & Faster

Value Stream & Process Mapping

Let us assist you with improving any of your processes using VSM, Process Mapping and other improvement techniques. Mr. Lee's popular book on the subject can be a starting point for your workshop or guided Kaizen Event. This is a "must" for any Lean Implementation or Workcell Design.

Warehousing & Supply Chain

Reduce Inventory, Stockouts & Space

Warehousing & Supply Chain

Reduce Inventory, Stockouts & Space

Sims Consulting Group, a Strategos Affiliate, literally "wrote the book" on warehousing with the U.S. Navy's 800-page publication NS529. Ed Phillips is one of the foremost authorities on Warehousing, Supply Chain and Materials Handling.

The Human Side

Leverage Your People

The Human Side

Leverage Your People

People are an integral part of every manufacturing system. As such, their needs and limitations must be accommodated and integrated with equipment, layouts and systems for best results. We start with the Socio Technical Systems (STS) approach originated by Eric Trist to ensure that people and culture are woven into every design

Lean Office/Administration

Streamline Your Most Wasteful Activities

Lean Office/Administration

Streamline Your Most Wasteful Activities

There is nothing fundamentally different about an office. As the pioneers of Industrial Engineering such as Frank Gilbreth understood, work is work and the same principles apply to factories, offices, hospitals and every other purposeful activity. Strategos has been applying Lean methods to administrative activities and knowledge work for many years. Our projects include Maintenance, Engineering, Finance and Purchasing.

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JAN 2012       

Strategos-International:  North America - Europe - Australia

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The Strategos Guide To Value Stream and Process Mapping goes far beyond symbols and arrows. In over 163 pages it tells the reader not only how to do it but what to do with it. More info...

Strategos Guide to Value Stream & Process Mapping