Lean for the Process Industries: Dealing with Complexity

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ISBN 9781420078510
Cat# PP7851



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  • Describes what makes for a process industry and the characteristics of such that make lean applications challenging
  • Covers each of the eight wastes commonly described in lean literature, looking at how they manifest themselves in process operations
  • Shows how to adapt Value Stream Mapping for process operations
  • Looks at those lean tools needing little modification as well as those needing a different approach
  • Addresses the kinds of bottlenecks found in process lines, along with how to recognize them, get to their root causes, and eliminate them
  • Discusses the role of management with a lean implementation in process operations in, and the criticality of having effective business processes to guide lean operations on an ongoing basis


Compared to its widespread implementation across almost all areas of production, Lean improvement efforts lag within the process industries. While, a number of innovators have successfully applied Lean principles to these industries over the last two decades, most of those pioneering efforts were never recorded to guide the improvement efforts of others.

Drawing on 40 years of application experience at one of the world’s largest chemical and materials manufacturers, Peter King corrects this void by providing the first comprehensive resource written explicitly for change agents within the process industries. Focusing  on areas where the improvement needs of the process industry differ from parts assembly manufacturing,

Lean for the Process Industries: Dealing with Complexity

  • Covers each of the eight wastes commonly described in Lean literature, looking at how they manifest themselves in process operations
  • Explains how to adapt value stream mapping for process operations
  • Shows how to identify the root causes of bottlenecks, and systemically eliminate them
  • Provides process-oriented modifications that will enhance the usefulness of Cellular Manufacturing, Heijunka Production Leveling, and Pull Replenishment Systems
  • Discusses the role of process operations management in a Lean strategy

Whether you are manufacturing consumer products such as foods, paints, and pharmaceuticals, or materials such as bulk chemicals, sheet goods, and synthetic fibers, this book shows you how to achieve that enviable level of performance where continual improvement becomes inherent to your processes.

Table of Contents


Lean Overview

The Process Industries: what makes them unique

Value Stream Mapping the Process Industries

The Basics:

Kaizen Events

The 8 Wastes in the Process Industries

Set-up reduction & SMED

Total Productive Maintenance

Visual Management

Dealing with Complexity:

Finding, managing, and improving Bottlenecks

Cell design in the Process Industries

Production scheduling, production sequencing, production leveling: Product Wheels

Lead time improvement

Postponement: Finish-to-Order

Pull Systems

Supermarket design

Fixed interval replenishment

Fixed quantity replenishment

Managing variability: Safety Stock

Creating the Future State Map

The importance of robust business processes

Appendix: The Hypothetical Process description and data

Author Bio(s)

Lean Dynamics LLC, Newark, Delaware, USA

Editorial Reviews

…provides a nice balance between lean philosophies and concepts, as well as guidance and examples. The content enables operations managers to gain an understanding of basic ideas and principles, and it is detailed enough that process engineers and lean practitioners can learn specific applications of the various tools. If you work in the process industry and want to make improvements to your lean manufacturing operations, Lean for the Process Industries is highly recommended.
—Janice M. Gullo, CFPIM, CSC writing in APICS magazine, July/August 2010 

King has done a masterful job of describing the application of lean concepts and tools, which originated in discrete part and assembly operations, to the process industries. His book will become the handbook for lean practitioners in those industries.
—Ted Brown, Lean Competency Champion, DuPont Operations & Supply Chain Center of Competency

King truly understands Lean Manufacturing and the intricacies of applying Lean tools in the process industries; he has mastered the theory and the application of Lean.
— Douglas R. Kroeger, past president, IIE Process Industries Division; manufacturing manager, Nestlé Nutrition

This book is a must-read for Lean practitioners in chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and other process industries.
— Tom Knight, founder and chief strategy officer, Invistics Corporation

King does a wonderful job blending the complementary aspects of Lean and the theory of constraints in an integrated approach specific to a continuous process flow environment.
— Jeff Oelke, program director, Operations Management Certificate, University of Wisconsin-Madison