Alcoa Inc.

Keith Turnbull is executive vice president of the Alcoa Business System and is in charge of implementing ABS throughout Alcoa. He discusses the importance of creating a coherent, understandable system based upon the principles of the Toyota Production System. Here are some of the questions he answered:

Lean Machines

  • Have your competitors taken notice of your performance since Alcoa embraced a pull system?

  • How have you gone about adopting lean?

  • Given the size of your processes, how difficult was it for your company to adopt a new production system?

  • Is the Alcoa Production System grounded in the broader ideas of lean manufacturing?

  • How do you deal with basic lean principles such as takt time and 5-S?

  • How different is your operation today than it was when you first started implementing the Toyota Production System?

  • With the Toyota Production System, is there a difficult transition to make between automobiles and aluminum?

  • Does it cost much to do this?

  • How hard is it to use the same machinery and convert it to production on a "pull" basis?

  • Are you pushing the lean concept into your supply base?

  • How specifically do you learn the Toyota Production System?

  • Do you pay Toyota for your training?

  • From your perspective, are there companies that have done the Toyota Production System well in the United States?

  • How has Alcoa managed to save $1.1 billion using TPS?

  • How have you categorized the savings?

  • Do you measure inventory turns?

  • What are your inventory turns?

  • And those are improving?

  • How long before you get the Toyota Production System installed at Alcoa?

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