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Lean Manufacturing Applications in the Oil Industry, Especially Refining

There has been scarce little application of lean principles in the oil industry.  Well … there has been some in the upstream sector, but virtually nothing in downstream. Yeah, people tell me that they have Lean-Sigma or Lean-SixSigma programs and will argue that they are doing lean…they are not.  I have been involved in several of these initiatives and while they may make some money; these hybridized efforts are basically project-based, problem solving designed to drive short term money to the bottom line without many other benefits.  By that measure, some are quite successful.  They have very weak sustainability, they focus exclusively on short-term financial gains, do not engage a broad range of personnel and have no real culture changing power.  Lean on the other hand gives you the short term benefits and has a sustainability module to turn the short-term gains into forever gains.  And the gains in lean are not just financial.  You will get improved quality, improved delivery, elevated morale….as well as the long-term financial bottom line improvements.  And the real strength of lean is that it is based on creating a fully engaged workforce so everyone is not only involved but also committed; and in so doing, lean has a strong cultural change mechanism. 

There is a great deal more information, including numerous applications and examples in Lean Refining…

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