Lean Manufacturing and Sustainability
Posted on 27 October 2015
One way that we put our commitment to sustainability into action is by practicing lean manufacturing, often known simply as “lean.” Lean manufacturing, derived from Toyota’s production practices focuses both on eliminating waste and also on improving work flow. By minimizing materials waste Orox Leather Co. consumes less and is a more sustainable company.
Some strategies to meet these goals include: perfect first-time quality, waste minimization, continuous improvement, flexibility, and building and maintaining long-term relationships with suppliers. We strive to use all of these strategies. One of the key beliefs of lean manufacturing is that improvement must be continuous and we are always on the look out for better ways to do things.
The strategies mentioned above can sound like technical, management speak, but one very tangible thing we do is to try our hardest to waste almost none of our high quality materials. These materials are expensive, their production requires energy and other inputs, and we feel an almost spiritual obligation to be careful in our use of them. Smaller, leftover pieces of leather become Citus Cord Minders, bracelets, and other small accessories. We love the creative challenge of finding good ways to use these smaller pieces of leather.
Sustainability and to a lesser extent “lean” are buzzwords. Our family has been practicing sustainable production for generations. Growing up in Mexico in the 1960s and 70s we learned how to make leather goods that would last a lifetime. Fast consumerism wasn’t an option. There were no big box stores and most households’ income would not support high levels of consumption. To succeed in those circumstances we needed to make products that wouldn’t wear out and that would meet the needs of the user (and ideally his or her son or daughter, too).
We continue to create leather goods that last forever. For us this is a way of honoring our heritage, of being a more sustainable company, and striving to create timeless designs that don’t go in and out of style.