Liquid Lean: Developing Lean Culture in the Process Industries, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Liquid Lean

Developing Lean Culture in the Process Industries, 1st Edition

By Raymond C. Floyd

Productivity Press

326 pages | 24 B/W Illus.

Shingo Award Winner
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Hardback: 9781420088625
pub: 2010-02-24
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pub: 2010-02-24
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While Lean practices have been successfully implemented into the process industry with excellent results for over 20 years (including the author’s own award winning example at Exxon Chemical), that industry has been especially slow in adopting Lean. Part of the problem is that the process industry needs its own version of Lean. The larger part of the problem is resistance to transformational change, a barrier that can only be overcome with effective leadership and results-oriented planning that engages rather than excludes all stakeholders.

Winner of a 2012 Shingo Prize!

Written by Raymond Floyd, an unparalleled leader of Lean transformations, Liquid Lean: Developing Lean Culture in the Process Industries provides potential process industry change agents with the no-nonsense guide needed to eliminate waste and achieve sustainable optimal efficiency. Presenting lessons in lean as they apply within the liquid industries, the book focuses on developing the four measures of Lean as defined by the Shingo Award:

  1. Business Results
  2. Consistent Lean Enterprise Culture
  3. Continuous Process Improvement
  4. Cultural Enablers

Illustrated with his own success stories, Floyd describes business results, Lean enterprise thinking, and policy deployment in process industry terms. He offers detailed theory, practice, and examples of continuous process improvement, and describes the leadership and defines the ethics needed to evolve and sustain Lean transformation. Floyd lays out the specific steps needed during the first six months of transformation and the benchmarks to be achieved during the first two years of implementation. All companies can benefit from Lean; this book makes sure that those who want it, know how.


I urge all manufacturing managers and leaders to read this volume carefully and to take Ray’s lessons to heart. They will be doing their organizations, their shareholders, and their employees, a great service.

— Rick George, President and CEO, Suncor Energy Inc.

If you truly want world-class performance, you will want a copy of this book on your desk as a ready reference manual.

— King Pouw, Executive Vice President, Kellogg Company

This book is about ‘walking the talk.’ Ray provides uniquely valuable insight from having personally led several organizations to achieve exceptional results applying lean principles.

— H. Eugene McBrayer. Former President, Exxon Chemical Company

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Business Results in Process Industries


How This Book Is Organized: Shingo Prize Criteria

Business Results: Improve Performance with Lean

Beat the Competition with Very Flexible Manufacturing

Improve Performance with Lean and an Engaged Workforce

Gain First Mover Advantage

Achieve Prompt Improvement

All Companies Can Benefit from Lean, but Not All Do

Disruptive Changes

Why the Process Industry Needs Its Own Version of Lean

Transforming the Raw Material

Indirect Material Transformations

Time as an Independent Element of Production

Special Case: Continuous Processing


Chapter 2 Lean Enterprise Thinking


Developing a Western Lean-Enabling Culture

Historical Perspective

Early View of Lean: Just-in-Time Manufacturing

Early View of Engaged Employees: Quality Circles

The Eight Sources of Waste

The Relationship between Inventory and Operating Problems

Value Streams and Support Processes

Lean Values: Inventory Reductions Can Sustain Improvements

Lean Values: Culture of Engagement


Chapter 3 Policy Deployment


Large Events and Small Events

A Strategic View of Manufacturing

Strategic Alignment and Necessary Boundaries

Prerequisites for Structured Autonomous Improvement

Strategic Direction

The Role of Communication in Achieving Strategic Alignment

Limiting Opportunities for Improvement

Deploying Strategic Intent

Simple Statement of the Goal

Prose Statement of Intended Future State

Prose Statement of Current Reality

Objective Measures of Progress

Interim Performance Targets

Formatting Goal Statement

Translating Strategic Intent throughout the Organization

Framework for Action

How Quality Stations Work

Display the Team Goals

Display What the Team Has Completed

Show the Work in Progress

Provide Interactive Space

Policy Deployment in Action: Conversations at a Quality Station

Internal Team Conversations

External Team Conversations

Chapter 4 Improving Flexibility and Availability in Mechanical Equipment


Single Minute Exchange of Dies System

What We Can Learn from NASCAR..4

Translating NASCAR Success to Our Plants




How to Use the SMED Concept

The Five Key Components of SMED Practice

Separation of Activities

Modification of Rate-Limiting Internal Activities

Modification of the Work Team

Modification of the Equipment

Modify Equipment to Maximize Efficiency

Preparing for Events and Sustaining the Improvements

Outcome of Improvements

Chapter 5 Operational Planning to Improve ChemicalTransitions


The Causes of Chemical Inflexibility

Chemical Contamination

Unintended Conversions

Fixed Sequence Variable Volume Production

The Concept: A Comprehensive Approach to the Production Cycle

What We Can Learn from the New York Subway System

The Four Components of FSVV Practice

Typical Operating Problems

Changes in Process Conditions

Additives and Modifiers

Changes in Reactive Chemicals

The Fixed Sequence

Establishing a Fixed Sequence

FSVV Inventory Policy

Days of Demand in Inventory

ABC Inventories

FSVV Inventory Policy

Wheels within Wheels

Variable Volume Scheduling

Continuous Improvement

Sustainability over Time

The “Exception” Problem

Chapter 6 Assessment and Improvement of Other Accumulations


Structural Differences between Process Industries and Mechanical Manufacturing

Small Accumulations in Process Industries

Chapter 7 Statistical Quality Improvement


The Power of Statistical Quality Combined with Lean Manufacturing

Statistical Methods in the Process Industries

Basic Statistical Concepts

Six Sigma

Process Improvement before Statistical Analysis

Process Improvement Using Statistical Analysis

Operational Improvement with Statistical Analysis

Statistical Models of Process Performance

Using Statistical Analysis: The Process Capability


Capable Processes

Incapable Processes

Using SPC at the Frontline in a Process Plant

Using a Run Chart

When the Run Chart Says the Process Is Operating Normally

When the Run Chart Says the Process Is Producing an Unexpected Result

When the Run Chart Says the Process Is “Nearly Normal,” but Results Are Drifting Avoid the Waste of Excess Quality Notes

Chapter 8 Mistake Proofing or Poka-Yoke


Mistakes Come in Two Parts

The Consequences of Mistakes

Mistake Proofing: Preventing Consequences

Mistake Proofing Is Common Knowledge

Warning Systems

Four Types of Warning Systems

Poka-Yoke Practice 1: Physical Separation

Poka-Yoke Practice 2: Visual Signals

Poka-Yoke Practice 3: Pattern Recognition

Poka-Yoke Practice 4: Simple Physical Devices and Other Minor Changes

Approaching Perfect Production

Chapter 9 Equipment Reliability and Operator Care


Finding the Cause: Separating the Processes from the Equipment

The Role of Equipment Reliability in Lean Practice

Operator Care

The Fundamentals of Operator Care

Phase I: Basic Care

Keep the Equipment Clean

Keep the Equipment Cool

Keep the Equipment Lubricated

Phase II: Advanced Techniques

Define Your Goals

Change the Oil and the Filters

Pay Attention

Autonomous Maintenance as an Element in Improvement

Autonomous Actions

Chapter 10 Lean Leadership and Ethics: Creating an Engaged Workforce


Improvement Experiences at the Frontline

The Structure of Employee Engagement

The Elements of Engagement

Clear Goals

Skills Necessary to Achieve the Goals

Time to Make Improvements

Access to the Resources That Cause Change

Framework for Action

Engage Frontline Teams

What to Do When Teams Do Not Engage

Refresh the Understanding of Small Event Improvement

The Subjective Elements of Engagement

Lack of Trust in Management

Disruption by Team Members

Intentional Disruption

Unintentional Disruption

Industrial Culture


Chapter 11People Development


Impact of Competent People on Organizational Performance

Competence Defined

Basic Competence

Basic Competence Development

Superior Performance

Critical Positions

Finding the Right Management Tool

A Quick Description of Our Analysis

The Influence of Critical Positions on Improvement

Individual Contributors

Subject Matter Experts or Mentors


Identifying Critical Roles in Your Organization

Common Misconceptions

Developing Highly Competent People

Beginning the Process

Prompt Improvement

Sustaining the Improvement

Chapter 12 Leadership: Initiating and Sustaining Lean Operations


Transforming an Organization and Sustaining the Change

Sustaining Improvement

Process Documentation

The Role of Transformational Leadership

Sustaining Leadership

When the Leader Is Not the CEO

Getting Started

The Value of 6-Month Intervals

Three Attributes of a Successful Beginning

The Value of Shared Vision

The Value of Immediate Pilot Projects

The Value of New Tools



About the Author

About the Author

Raymond C. Floyd is senior vice president of Suncor Energy. Prior to joining Suncor, Ray retired from Exxon Mobil, where he spent more than 20 years and where he most recently served as global manager of manufacturing services. Previously, he was with General Motors for more than 10 years. Ray is generally recognized as one of North America’s “early adopters” of lean manufacturing and is among the very first worldwide to adapt lean technologies for use in the chemical and process industries.

Following the practices described in this book, Ray led the first chemical business to receive the Shingo Prize and has led two separate businesses that have been designated as one of “America’s ten best plants” by IndustryWeek magazine. Ray is the only person to lead businesses in both chemical and mechanical manufacturing to receive that designation. As site manager for Exxon’s massive Baytown chemical plant, Ray led the team that was designated as “best maintenance organization in large industry” by Maintenance Technology magazine. Ray received the Andersen Consulting award for “excellence in managing the human side of change.”

Ray has degrees in chemical engineering, business administration, and law. He is professionally licensed as an engineer, attorney-at-law, and patent attorney. He has also received international senior executive development at the Institute for International Studies and Training in Japan and the Institute for Management Development in Switzerland. Ray was appointed by President Reagan to represent the United States at the Japan Business Study Program as a guest of Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry. Ray’s wife, Marsha, is also an attorney-at-law. Ray and Marsha have two daughters, who are both physicians, and five grandchildren.

Subject Categories

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