Lean production at Portakabin
A Portakabin case study

Page 1: Introduction

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Portakabin is an international company. It produces some of the most advanced building systems available. The company is part of the £700 million turnover Shepherd Group. The Shepherd Group is one of the largest family-owned companies in the European building industry and employs 3,500 people. It focuses on three main areas: manufacturing construction property. The name Portakabin is...
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Page 2: What is lean production?

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The aim of lean production is to reduce the quantity of resources used. Lean production should mean less use of labour, materials, space and time. Portakabin uses three main production methods. Portakabin is working towards eliminating waste in each of the three areas. Lean production makes it possible to eliminate waste by reducing defects so that products are 'right first time' and are of a...
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Page 3: Just-in-time production

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Just-in-time is perhaps the best known method utilised within a lean production environment. It is a process which aims to reduce the costs of holding stocks. Finished goods, work in progress and raw materials are kept to a minimum level by ensuring that stocks are only produced when they are needed. Holding stock adds to business costs in a number of ways: Firms have to pay for the storage...
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Page 4: Reducing waste

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The Portakabin lean production process encourages waste reduction. Building in a modular way is a lean process. The off-site construction and installation of completed and fitted out modules means that fewer workers are required on site and there is less transport needed. Portakabin has been able to reduce the volume of waste sent to landfill by 60% over the last three years. This has been...
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Page 5: Benefits of lean production

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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...
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Page 6: Conclusion

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Portakabin provides solutions to help other organisations to manage their changing accommodation requirements. Its modular buildings are put together using lean production methods. Lean processes provide an environmentally-friendly approach in a world of scarce resources. Materials are used more effectively. Time is used more efficiently. Less waste is generated at every stage of lean...
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