Here we go again… another reporter thinking herself clever for rhyming "mean" with "lean." Mark over at the Lean Blog has commented on this several times. Sometimes the article actually makes reference to something obliquely "mean," but in this case it does not. It is simply a rhyme. One that conveys the exact opposite of what lean manufacturing is really about.
This particular article has some other interesting tidbits.
manufacturing speed ultimately sets the price, our goal wasn’t only to
develop the product but also to develop a process that maintained
quality at the necessary price point," said Pacon Manufacturing Vice
President Mike Scaduto.
No, the market sets the price. Manufacturing speed can set the cost, but generally even that isn’t a true cost. I’m betting they’re using traditional absorption costing, therefore the more product they can crank through a piece of capital equipment, the better. Whether the product has an order or not. And that product presumably has to absorb a percentage of overhead costs, whose absorption ratios were probably set several months earlier, based on guesstimates to begin with. Check out the Lean Accounting Summit in Las Vegas next month if you want to learn more about how silly this type of accounting is. And how dangerously erroneous.
The rest of the article is basically an advertisement for pneumatic conveying equipment, and there are some examples of how the equipment can increase flexibility, reduce floorspace, and the like.
Perhaps lean. Not mean.