Friday, November 9, 2007

LEAN and Clean

If you’re a business that has already embraced Continuous Process Improvement (CPI), then you're most likely familiar with, or involved in, some or all of the following philosophies: LEAN, Six Sigma, TQM, Lean Six Sigma, 5S, and Kaizan.

While the approaches of these various mindsets can be different, the end goals are the same: rising above business obstacles through continuous improvement, increased efficiency and productivity, improved quality, and reduced waste. These are not simply admirable goals, they are essential to the success and growth of companies in today's global environment. And on top of that, businesses today are equally concerned with employee health and safety, and the environmental impact of the business.

Okay, so you're probably now thinking: "Yes, I know all of this already, so tell us oh wise Dry Ice Sensei: what the heck does any of this have to with dry ice blasting?" Ah, grasshopper, sometimes the answer which you seek is indeed already before your eyes!

Okay, maybe a bit too 1970's Kung Fu-ish, but the point is simple:

Dry ice blasting "is" LEAN.

Dry ice blasting increases efficiency, increases productivity, improves quality, and reduces waste. It is also safe, environmentally conscious and worker-friendly.

It can be your answer to the LEAN question for an almost unlimited number of cleaning applications. Big, small, aggressive, gentle... dry ice blasting can fit in most all situations.

Is it really that simple?

In many, many applications, the answer is a resounding Yes. In fact, in some applications (such as several in the printing and packaging industry) the return has been, quite frankly, unbelievable. Really – people cannot believe the facts are true.

For example, take an application that took 8-10 hours, required disassembly, messy manual cleaning with solvents (requiring special handling and disposal), and then reassembly. Now imagine the same cleaning being done with dry ice blasting, with no disassembly/reassembly required and with a total process time of only 15 minutes (seriously). And with a better end cleaning result and no solvents to dispose of (or for workers to handle). It sounds too good to be true. But it is true.

Now obviously not every application is this dramatic, but many are equally impressive – too many to list in one sitting. Be that in the resulting quality, the reduced downtime, the increased productivity, the cost savings, the cleanup savings, etc.

The Bottom line

Being LEAN is all about reducing barriers and waste in your processes. Dry ice blasting is one of the quickest routes to a LEAN manufacturing implementation - and it’s one that you may never have heard of before.

But now that you have heard about it you really have no excuse to not evaluate dry ice blasting for yourself. Anything less would be an irresponsible business decision. And you’re smarter than that, or you wouldn’t be reading this.

It’s time to be LEAN... and Clean.


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