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Michael Tso was 10 months into his job running a high-tech envelope-making machine at Desert Paper and Envelope in Albuquerque when his employer sent him to the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s lean-manufacturing workshop this summer. There with other representatives of New Mexico companies he learned fundamentals of the lean manufacturing philosophy, which aims to improve business operations – and enhance competitiveness – from the shop floor to the front office.
Desert Paper and Envelope has eight machines that perform eight different functions, said Tso, who is one of only two Desert Paper machine operators that operate one of those specialty machines. While the 35-year-old company already has a smoothly functioning production line, Tso said he learned how to be “more productive and efficient without the extra steps you don’t need to take. I enjoyed the workshop and I learned a lot.”
Lean way of thinking
The core of the lean manufacturing management philosophy is the idea that any resources not creating value for a customer in the form of a product or service are wasted. While the Toyota Production System (TPS) is a relatively modern example of lean management, improving efficiency in the production of goods and services is a centuries-old idea.
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