Lean in shipbuilding


Traditional-minded shipbuilders conceive LEAN as a system only applicable for semi-automated automotive assembly chains, since they envisage shipbuilding as a completely different activity (i.e. as a craft-evolving and project-oriented complex manufacturing process).

Despite, LEAN can be fully applied to shipbuilding process, provided some key functions are implemented or drastically improved in the shipyard, including:

  • Product development (in engineering stage).

  • Thorough application of Groups technology, or setting families of similar interim products and transform them under standardized processes (i.e. shifting to “product-oriented” operations).

  • Standardization of interim products (at least to a certain degree, specially for the upstream low-level products).

  • Modularization (specially for outfitting and E&I components).

  • Streamlined and parallel production of interim products.

  • Shifting work-control from “scheduling” to a PULL system…


So called enterprise’s “LEAN-transformation” is based on a simple, but very powerful principle:

Whatever resources consumed (and thus costs generated) which do not produce VALUE perceived by CLIENT is a WASTE, which must be eliminated from business-activities.

Systematical wastes-elimination literally transforms operations, producing dramatic improvements such as (to name only a few): increased throughput and cash flow, reduced WIP, increased man power productivity, eliminated reworks, increased quality, reduced scraps, reduced production down-times, current facilities made fully productive, etc.

In summary, a LEAN transformation enables “producing more and more and more, with less and less and less…”

For an introduction to the fundamentals of LEAN shipbuilding, please download our presentation

Lean in shipbuilding


Lean in shipbuilding

An effective implementation of lean shipbuilding not only reduces project costs drastically, but it also allows efficient and high-quality building of complex and innovative vessels, thus enabling differentiation. LEAN is simply the superlative competitive strategy in shipbuilding…

For a full explanation upon request, please contact us


Many shipyards nowadays claim successful adoption of LEAN production. Nevertheless such implementation is generally partial and limited to individual workshop stations (typically, to a “5-S” implementation).

A wide and successful LEAN implementation radically transforms the way that a shipyard operates as a whole, being the degree of improvement achieved measured by five fundamental variables:

  • Reduced lead-times for construction (i.e. projects’ lead-times are significantly reduced, as compared to prior shipyard figures, as well as to competitors typical lead-times)

  • Minimum inventory, , being WIP adjusted to “standard inventory” (which is the minimum amount of inventory required to avoid disruptions in production)

  • Process cycle-times adjusted to Client’s demands (i.e. cycle-times for each process being proportional to Client’s “takt-time”)

  • Frequent replenishment loops for interim products

  • Work orders issued to a single point in the value-stream, being the remaining upstream processes governed by “pull system”…

For more information, please contact us

Lean in shipbuilding


Widen your scope

The more organizational-areas transformed by a LEAN implementation, the higher the benefits obtained in the short and mid terms… but it requires active involvement and leadership of shipyard’s top management.


An ideal organization is probably one in which the lowest levels have remarkable analytical; problem-solving and decision-making skills. Shop-floor personnel within this organization are not only able to properly run operations, but also to quickly react against problems (thus minimizing operations’ down times) and to find the root-causes which limit processes capability, applying practical solutions for eliminating them. Systematic LEAN application transforms the organization in this way in the mid and long-term, thus enabling a “cultural revolution” among the different organizational levels.

In a LEAN organization, line managers use a “scientific approach” to manage operations (such as systematically performing experiments, under a PDCA pattern, to achieve improvement of an specific process), meanwhile higher-level managers are permanently questioning if every step in every process is actually creating value from a Client’s perspective. The different organizational-levels are thus empowered for setting on-going improvement and for systematically creating and sharing practical knowledge. In our vision, this is the ideal scenario for sustaining the superlative advantages achieved after shipyard’s LEAN transformation…