Lean Manufacturing – Multiple Projects


Project Name: Multiple Upstream Manufacturing Facilities
Client: Multiple Companies
Project Dates: 1998 – Present.

Results include: doubled throughput, 30% reduction in manhours.

An education in manufacturing, internship in multiple manufacturing facilities, in depth study of the Toyota Production System (aka Lean Manufacturing) created an ability to present, facilitate and work hands on with shop floor personnel where extraordinary results can be delivered.

Oil Field Facilities Maintenance, USA – coached application of Lean delivery of facilities maintenance (heavy oil, steam assist); client accomplished a transformation in delivery – previous supplier had 100 personnel and 6 months backlog, client had 35 men and zero backlog (on time delivery).

Mobile Drilling Rig Manufacturing, Texas – doubled throughput of plant through redesigning workflow into sub-assemblies and final assembly.

Tar Sands Processing Vessels, Canada – “design to Build” process improvement program cut the manufacturing time of very large diameter heavy tar sands processing vessels by 27% with an aggressive goal to continue the reduction.

Land Drilling Rig Manufacturing, Houston, Texas – application of work cells and improved workflow reduced manhours by 30%, build duration by 24% with commensurate cost reduction.

Electrical Drilling Rig Systems, Houston, Texas – reorganization based on workflow and the adoption of sub assembly processes resulted in improved delivery to schedule with a drop in manhours of 22%.

Heavy Fabrication Shop, New Iberia, Louisiana – heavy engineering fabrication shop was reorganized with improved techniques that increased weld metal lay down time as well as a devoted material preparation area. The result was an immediate 50% improvement in throughput.

FSU, Fully Integrated Manufacturing – Consultant for 9 months and acting COO for three months. Successfully implemented Lean Manufacturing throughout all shops as well a project management / risk management system for major products

Production Equipment Maintenance Delivery, Land, USA – redesigned technician pick up trucks into mobile work cells with tools and parts organized according to 5S. Modified trailer as a mobile work cell for valve testing.


Make a fast determination of the workflow from design through manufacturing to delivery to ascertain the level of Lean Manufacturing (TPS) in place. A few manufacturers have achieved high levels through their own endeavors to improve throughput and reduce manhours while increasing product quality which must be recognized. Facilitating change in very traditional businesses that have not evolved their workflow over many years requires strength to mobilize.


Visual indicators throughout a manufacturing facility provide enormous clues to the workflow efficiency. Open dialogue and probing questions uncover inefficiencies and their associated opportunities whether they are in engineering or shop floor. Hands on shop floor reorganization with personnel leads to step change improvement that is owned.



IDE retained John de Wardt’s services in late 2011 to plan and implement Lean Manufacturing in our land rig manufacturing business located in Houston, Texas, USA. The implementation involved working at all levels of the organization including senior management, project managers, foremen and shop staff. The company has realized significant gains from this implementation:

  • 24% reduction in duration to build a drilling rig after implementation Lean Manufacturing,
  • Continuous improvement of 5% reduction in duration each build since by our own staff,
  • 30% reduction in man hours,
  • commensurate cost reduction of the product.

John also assisted our Hydraulics Manufacturing and Electrical Manufacturing business units to improve their manufacturing processes with positive results.

Tony Beebe, Former Managing Director, Integrated Drilling Equipment (IDE) / Currently Senior VP PM & Engineering, Northern Offshore