Key Principles of Lean Manufacturing Facility Design


In design and construction, efficiency and cost-effectiveness are crucial factors for success. That’s why, at Hermosillo, we firmly believe in Lean management as a philosophy and methodology that allows us to deliver projects faster and at a lower cost while maximizing value and efficiency for our clients. With years of experience, we have seen firsthand the benefits of planning and incorporating Lean principles into the design and construction of manufacturing facilities.

In this article, we explore the integration of Lean Manufacturing into manufacturing facilities’ planning, design, and construction phases, detailing the guidelines we follow and the tools we employ.

What is Lean Manufacturing?

Lean Manufacturing emerged from the culture, methodology, and tools developed by Toyota based on the Toyota Production System (TPS) in the late 1940s. It is a set of tools and a work methodology that guides us in doing things right the first time. Our practices rely on the principles of collaborative work, continuous improvement, and prioritizing quality above all else. By embracing Lean Manufacturing, we can deliver projects that meet our client’s needs and exceed their expectations.

Lean Construction was born by designing and developing a methodology and specialized tools for the construction industry based on the culture and principles of Lean Manufacturing. Its main goal is to minimize waste in the production process and maximize customer value. It emphasizes efficiency, reducing unnecessary inventory, planning, teamwork, and continuous improvement, focusing on doing more with less, which is what we strive to achieve at Hermosillo.

To learn more about the pure concept of Lean Construction, we have a blog post that goes into more detail: Breaking Down the Concept of Lean Construction.

“Lean Construction is a work philosophy of doing things right the first time, as simple as that.”

Cesar Valdez, Hermosillo’s Lean Construction Manager and Mexico’s Lean Construction Institute President.

Members of Hermosillo Construction Company

Principles of Lean Manufacturing and Their Influence on Facility Design

  1. Collaborative Work: At Hermosillo, we believe in the power of collaboration. By involving all stakeholders in the design and construction process, we ensure a holistic understanding of project goals and objectives, promoting a seamless workflow.
  2. Continuous Improvement: Our commitment to continuous improvement aligns with Lean Manufacturing principles. Regularly assessing and refining our processes allows us to eliminate waste, enhance efficiency, and deliver higher value to our customers.
  3. Quality Over Everything: Lean principles strongly emphasize quality. At Hermosillo, we prioritize quality in design and construction, ensuring that our facilities meet the highest standards, reducing the need for rework, and minimizing waste. This guarantees customer satisfaction, improves overall productivity, and reduces costs associated with rework or defects.

Lean Layouts

Lean Construction Layouts are essential to implementing lean principles in the construction industry. They involve organizing a construction site’s physical layout to optimize workflow and reduce waste. Here are some important aspects of lean construction layouts:

  1. Co-location of teams: Lean Construction encourages the co-location of various project teams, including architects, engineers, contractors, and subcontractors. Pacing these teams nearby promotes seamless communication and collaboration, leading to better coordination and problem-solving.
  2. Work cell organization: Like manufacturing plants that use work cells for efficient production, Lean Construction Layouts create work cells on construction sites (dedicated areas where specific tasks or processes are completed). This minimizes unnecessary movement and transportation of materials and tools, reducing waste and improving productivity.
  3. Material flow optimization: Lean construction layouts focus on optimizing the flow of materials on the construction site. This includes strategically positioning storage and transportation areas to minimize unnecessary relocations. It also involves creating well-defined pathways and signage to guide workers and prevent congestion.
  4. Just-in-time delivery: This refers to delivering materials and equipment precisely when they are needed, reducing the need for excess inventory and storage space, freeing up resources, and minimizing waste.
  5. Visual management: Visual management is a critical component of Lean Construction Layouts. It involves using visual tools, such as signage, color coding, and labels, to provide transparent information and instructions to workers. This helps improve communication, reduce errors, and enhance overall efficiency.
  6. Continuous improvement: Lean Construction Layouts are designed to be flexible and adaptable. Regular evaluations and reviews are conducted to identify improvement areas and make necessary layout adjustments. This ensures that the construction site constantly evolves to meet changing project requirements and maximize efficiency.

By incorporating Lean Construction Layouts, construction companies can optimize workflow, reduce waste, and improve overall project performance. Lean principles create a collaborative and efficient work environment, leading to successful project completion within budget and schedule constraints.

Tools Used in Lean Manufacturing at Hermosillo

  1. Budgeting with Target Value Delivery (TVD): We view budgeting as an exercise in value creation. According to the Lean Construction Institute, Target Value Delivery is a disciplined management practice used throughout the project to ensure that the facility meets the operational needs and values of the users and is delivered within the allowable budget. It promotes innovation throughout the process to increase value and eliminate waste (time, money, human effort). By incorporating client requirements with innovative solutions grounded in constructability, TVD allows us to set project costs below estimated market value.
  2. Problem-Solving with Last Planner/Big Room: We explore and develop alternatives and options at Hermosillo while working towards decision deadlines. This ensures the design of conceptual alternatives that meet all conditions for total client satisfaction. The Lean Construction Institute affirms that the Last Planner System is a project production system that promotes the creation of a predictable workflow among various parties to achieve reliable results. Meanwhile, Big Room is defined as a project approach of bringing key individuals together to speed communication and decision-making, and to reduce siloed thinking and approaches.
  3. Decision-Making with Job Plan: A clear definition of project values, from cost, design, and business perspectives, allows us to deliver “bullet-proof” decisions, resist second-guessing, and keep the project on track.

Hermosillo: a Lean Construction Certified General Contractor

There are many benefits of having a Lean Construction Certified general contractor. Among some of them, we highlight the undoubted rise of quality in the project, having real-time access to relevant information, ensuring total project satisfaction and fewer costs with a great ROI (Return On Investment). If you are interested in learning more about this, we have a blog post detailing reasons why general contractors should be Lean Construction Certified and the key benefits that project owners can achieve because of it. Click here to read it: Lean Construction: 4 Key Benefits. We pride ourselves at Hermosillo by having 65 employees certified as specialists in Lean management by the Lean Construction Mexican Institute.

We are proud to say that our commitment to Lean Construction has not gone unnoticed. In 2021, we were honored with the KOBAH Award for Excellence in Lean Construction in Mexico at the CLIC symposium the Lean Construction Mexican Institute organized. Four projects (Fábrica de Papel San Francisco (FAPSA), Cold-Block for Constellation Brands, Flex-N-Gate, and Daltile) were also awarded in the project category during 2021 and 2022, showcasing the efficiency and competitiveness embedded in every project we executed.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, Lean Manufacturing Facility Design is not just a buzzword for us at Hermosillo – it is a way of life. We have achieved unparalleled efficiency and competitiveness by integrating Lean Construction principles into our project management system. With our focus on collaboration, continuous improvement, and customer value, we are proud to be solid promoters and co-founders of the Mexican Institute for Research and Disclosure of Lean Construction A.C. Our goal is to be 100% Lean on every project, optimizing our culture and delivering solutions while consistently meeting agreed milestones. We believe that Lean Manufacturing is the foundation on which we build our success. With over 60 years of experience, we strive for excellence in every aspect of our work.

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