Lean production at Portakabin
A Portakabin case study

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Page 5: Benefits of lean production

Lean production can be seen as providing a win/win/win situation.

Financial benefits

The Portakabin production methods reduce the cost of constructing high quality building projects. The lead time between a customer placing an order and the end product being ready is much shorter through the use of the latest technologies under controlled conditions.

The main financial benefits include:

  • predictable construction. The construction is factory based so it is not disrupted by weather conditions or site related problems. 99.6% of Portakabin projects are delivered on time and on budget. This compares with a traditional construction industry average of 63% on time and 49% on budget
  • speed of construction. Build times are up to 50% faster than those in traditional building projects
  • quality control. The Portakabin Quality Management Systems and use of lean manufacturing techniques guarantee high quality at every stage of production.

Environmental benefits

There are a number of important environmental benefits, including:

  • better thermal performance. Tests carried out on the Ultima buildings show that they exceed air permeability requirements by 70% meaning that the buildings have minimal air leakage and are therefore thermally efficient
  • ozone-friendly materials. The insulation materials used in the walls, roof and floors have an Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) of zero meaning that their manufacturing process does not harm the ozone layer
  • reduced noise and pollution. Fewer vehicle movements to construction sites minimise traffic pollution
  • recycling of materials. The buildings are constructed in sections. Later they can be taken apart in simple steps. The steel is 100% recyclable so 96% of the total building is recyclable.

Social benefits

There are also benefits to the wider community. For example:

  • improved health and safety. Factory-based construction is much safer than a traditional construction site
  • there is far less noise, lorry movements and other nuisance factors to local communities.

There are some potential drawbacks of lean production. For example, everyone involved in supplying the new buildings is dependent on the previous stage of production. Delays in deliveries of stock when using a Just-in-Time system can affect the next stage. Adhering to quality standards can take extra time and people which all add costs to businesses. However, if managed carefully, the benefits of adopting a lean approach to production far outweigh the drawbacks.

Find out more about Portakabin

Portakabin | Lean production at Portakabin