Grow Your Factory, Grow Your Profits: Lean for Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturing Enterprises, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Grow Your Factory, Grow Your Profits

Lean for Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturing Enterprises, 1st Edition

By Timothy McLean

Productivity Press

175 pages | 30 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781482255850
pub: 2014-12-03
Hardback: 9781138409385
pub: 2017-08-02
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When I was first given the job of managing a small plastics factory back in 1989, I quickly realized that most of the books and teaching on Lean Manufacturing were designed for big companies and were not relevant to my factory.

—Tim Mclean

The last 25 years has seen Tim lead and assist over 100 small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) manufacturing operations. This experience has now been condensed in to Grow Your Factory, Grow your Profits: Lean for Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturing Enterprises, a start-to-finish guide on how to run a successful small and medium-sized manufacturing operation.

The book presents case studies, practical examples, illustrations, charts, and pictures from real SME manufacturers to provide straightforward solutions to the issues facing every growing manufacturing business. In the book, Tim McLean explains:

  • How to recruit the right people and design the right organization
  • How to empower those people to take accountability and free yourself up from day to day "fire fighting"
  • How to develop a Lean Plant Layout that will maximize productivity and optimize the use of space
  • How to manage materials in order to slash inventory and shortages
  • How to schedule production in order to cut lead times, cut inventory, and delight customers
  • How to get started on a Lean transformation when you lack the resources of a big company

The book details how SMEs differ from large organizations and why the approach to improvement must also be different. Covering the complete life cycle of small and medium-sized manufacturers, the book addresses a different SME manufacturing issue in each chapter. This enables readers to tackle issues at their own pace and in their own order of priority.

Grow Your Factory, Grow Your Profits is essential reading for owners, managers, and operational leaders in the 90 percent of manufacturing enterprises that are small or medium sized.

Table of Contents

One Size Does Not Fit All

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

What Is Different about a Small to Medium-Sized Manufacturing Company?

Branach Manufacturing: The Story of a Manufacturing SME

How You Might Have Arrived at Where You Are—And How to Move Forward

What Large and SME Manufacturing Managers Can Learn from One Another

Key Points in Chapter 1

What Is Lean Manufacturing, and What Has It Got to Do with Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers?

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

History and Relevancy of Lean Manufacturing

Value and Waste

Do a Waste Walk

Four Rules of the Toyota Production System

About Six Sigma

Key Points in Chapter 2


Deciding Where to Start Your Lean Journey

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Where Not to Start

Stability First: A Perfect Excuse for Procrastination

First Decide: What Is the Problem We Need to Fix?

Getting the Key People on Board

Understanding the Barriers to Change

Selecting the First Target for Improvement

Why Work on the Most Important Value Stream First?

Key Points in Chapter 3: Deciding Where to Start Your Lean Journey

Make Your Product Flow: Redesign Your Process

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Mapping Your Process with a Value Stream Map

Defining Your Product Families

Current State Mapping Tips

What Are We Going to Make?

What Is Your Finished Goods Strategy?

Can You Combine or Eliminate Processes?

How Do We Flow Products between Processes?

Creating One-Piece Flow


If FIFO Is Not Possible, Then Pull

Controlling the Release of Work to Production

Some Tips on Value Stream Mapping

Pulling It All Together

Key Points in Chapter 4


Getting the Right Layout and Equipment

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Don’t Start Your Future Factory Planning at a Machinery Exhibition

Planning Your New Factory: Put the Customer First

Converting the Value Stream to a Layout

Analyzing Capacity

Developing the Layout

Plant Layout Redesign Case Study: Sykes Racing

Key Points in Chapter 5

Developing an Organizational Structure and the Leadership to Sustain It

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Getting Started at Developing an Organizational Structure A Value Stream Structure for Middle Management

Developing Front-Line Teams

What’s in a Name? Team Leader or Supervisor?

Recruiting the Right People

Developing People: You Cannot Recruit Your Way to Success

When Things Go Wrong: Managing Poor Performance

Key Points in Chapter 6


Measuring Success: Selecting the Right Metrics

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Keeping Score in Real Time

What Are the Metrics in Your Business?

Select the Most Important Metrics to Focus On

Develop a Simple Measure of Production Output

Metrics for Other Functions

Delivery in Full and on Time (DIFOT): The Most Abused Metric in Manufacturing

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Key Points in Chapter 7

What Do I Make Next? The Keys to Production Planning

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Controlling the Release of Work to the Factory: What Goes In Must Come Out

Getting Processes Back in Balance and Keeping Them That Way

Don’t Start What You Can’t Finish

Planning Capacity

Will a Software System Improve Your Production Planning and On-Time Delivery?

What’s Wrong with Using an ERP System to Plan Production?

Case Study: Planning a Seasonal Operation: From ERP to Pull

Key Points in Chapter 8


What I Need When I Need It: Managing Materials

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

A Typical Material Supply Problem: How It Happens

The Old Forecast Problem

Unreliable Suppliers

Developing a Plan for Every Part

Working Out What to Order and Stock

Reorder Point Kanban Systems

Using Computerized Min-Max Systems

Ordering from the Supplier

Key Points in Chapter 9


Developing Your Team

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Can You Become a "Lean Leader"?

Regularly Spend Time on the Shop Floor

Ask Why Five Times

Keeping Track of Performance: Visual Management

Meet Daily

Planning on a Page: The A3 Plan

Key Points in Chapter 10


Locking in the Gains: The Need for Standardization

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

What Is Standard Work?

Standard Work, Industrial Engineering, and Scientific Management

The First Step toward Standard Work: 5S and the Visual Workplace

Moving from 5S to Standard Work

When Things Go Wrong: Solving Problems Every Day

Key Points in Chapter 11


Resourcing the Change

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Making a Start

Getting Help

Selecting a Lean Consultant

I Need Someone Who Understands My Industry

What about Hiring Your Own Internal Lean Consultants?

The Branach Story…Continued from Chapter 1


Glossary of Lean Terms


About the Author


Tim McLean is the founder and managing director of TXM, one of the Asia Pacific’s leading Lean consulting companies. Tim was first introduced to Lean and Operational Excellence in the late 1980s as a young production manager of a small plastics extrusion plant, part of German global chemical manufacturer, Hoechst AG. Tim went on to lead a range of medium-sized manufacturing plants across the plastics molding, packaging, printing, and chemical industries for major companies, including Hoechst AG, Amcor, and PPG. Tim was fortunate to be coached by a succession of mentors steeped in the principles of Lean. As an operations manager and general manager, Tim then faced the real challenge of applying these theories to drive performance in his plants. After a successful 16-year career leading manufacturing operations, Tim turned down a transfer to Europe in order to set up TXM, a consulting business in Australia aimed at helping other manufacturing leaders like himself achieve their goals. TXM has since grown to be one of the leaders in Lean in Asia and the Pacific, operating from offices in Australia and China and carrying out projects with small, medium, and large manufacturers throughout the region. In line with Tim’s experience and values, TXM has developed a reputation for delivering practical outcomes for manufacturers, especially SMEs. It is this experience that Tim has drawn on in writing Grow Your Factory, Grow Your Profits.

Tim and TXM have an extensive network throughout the Asia Pacific region, and Tim is a frequent speaker at industry events, including the Association for Manufacturing Excellence Conferences, Lean Enterprise China, the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers, Australian Manufacturing Week, and many more. TXM has a weekly blog ( to which Tim is a major contributor, and Tim’s quarterly e-newsletter goes out to more than 2,000 manufacturing leaders around the region ( ).

Tim also provides articles to a wide range of manufacturing industry publications, including Australian Manufacturing Technology, Manufacturers Monthly, Australia-China Connections, China Sourcer Magazine, etc. Examples of these articles can be found at

Tim and TXM have a strong social media presence, primarily on LinkedIn, with over 1,000 connections, three groups (Australian Manufacturing Futures, Total Excellence Manufacturing, and Lean Support China), and regular and popular contributions to Lean interest groups across the globe. TXM also actively promotes its content via Twitter, Facebook, and a YouTube Channel (TXMLeanVideo).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Manufacturing Industries
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industrial Management