Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is a system of processes or activities for running a manufacturing or service operation. The main focus of lean manufacturing is the elimination of all non-value-added processes or activities and removing waste from business procedures.

We continuously strive to reduce lead-times, improve quality, and reduce costs, and our long-term business model is geared toward these “lean initiatives.” As an example of our lean initiatives, our team focuses on waste versus value-added activities in the manufacturing process, which means our employees are identifying and removing wasteful practices from their production and constantly seeking improvement. At Estes, we believe the best way to improve is to constantly re-evaluate and grow as an employee—which makes for a stronger company.

Let Estes’ lean initiatives work to your advantage by partnering with us.

Why Estes believes in pursuing lean manufacturing:

  • It places an emphasis on the product (or service) Estes provides to the customer as the purpose of the company. All other activities are not the purpose.
  • It sets a mindset that a perfect product is possible.
  • It focuses on the fact that customers can have exactly what they want, when they want it, at competitive prices.
  • It emphasizes that all buffers are waste – extra time, space, inventory, people, tools, etc.
  • It stresses that indirect activities should be eliminated as they do not add value to the part, for which the customer is paying.
  • It dictates that improvement is always both possible and necessary, through Kaizen.
  • It empowers and challenges employees to continuously improve and eliminate waste rather than just put in their time.
  • It underscores that all relationships are long term – employee, supplier, distributor, owner and especially customer.
State-of-the-art equipment and Lean manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing Through Automated Technology

Visit our equipment page to learn how our state-of-the-art technology aids in our lean initiatives.

What does this mean for you, the customer?

Reduced Lead-Times

Reduced Lead-Times

Increase Quality

Improved Quality

Competitive Pricing in lean manufacturing

Competitive Pricing

On-time delivery

Consistent On-Time Delivery

Automated Cell Technology Supporting Lean Initiatives

Most sheet metal fabricators use a traditional manufacturing style where shop floors are laid out by type of equipment or department, and materials and components are processed in a batch-and-queue manner. As one step in the fabrication process is completed, an employee moves the parts back to the warehouse or staging area where they sit waiting for the next process. If working with large batches, this can create bottlenecks and extend the time required to process because jobs go to the back of the line in each department. If a quality issue develops, it isn’t found until a full batch is completed, which can lead to high scrap and wasted time, compromising the on-time delivery of your parts.


However, with cellular manufacturing, the various machines used to create a part or complete a process are situated together in the shop in a manner that supports an efficient process flow. This arrangement is referred to as a cell. Raw materials enter the cell, and finished goods leave the cell. The purpose of cellular manufacturing is to promote a smooth flow of materials and components as well as reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a part or component.


  • One-piece flow
  • Machines in order of process
  • Small, inexpensive and dedicated equipment
  • Multi-process handling workers
  • Production paced to task time
  • Pull production
  • Standard operations defined
  • Short lead time
  • High ration of VA to NVA
  • Easy moving/standing operations

Cellular Manufacturing and Lean Initiatives diagram

Learn more about how Estes’ automated cell technology can provide you with exceptional quality shorter lead-times, and improved on-time delivery.