Lean Success Story 3



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Plains Fabrication & Supply

This Alberta-based steel fabrication company embarked on its Lean journey to improve profit margins, increase productivity and response times, and reduce waste.

Plains Fabrication & Supply is an Alberta based steel fabrication company that was established in Calgary in 1988, and now supplies to a global market. Since their inception in 1998, Plains Fabrication has grown from 16 employees to over 150 employees in both the offices and shop floor.

With sales of approximately $20 million annually, their products include sweetener packages, heaters, separators, pressure vessels, skid packages, and other custom fabrication.

Why they decided to go LEAN!

A decision by the owners to either invest in a new facility or end the business, based on possibilities of increased profits, initiated the Lean process at Plains Fabrication. Profit margins needed to increase from the current 4% to 8-10% to allow the building of a new facility.

Other concerns that needed addressing included:

  • age and function of the original facility
  • cash flow issues
  • difficulty finding skilled labor in current hot labor market
  • lack of training
  • poor organization and use of shop floor
  • production was tied to the needs of one main customer

Shop Floor - Before Lean - click on picture to enlarge

Lean Journey
Lean Journey
Lean Journey

Their Lean journey

To alleviate the threats of a tighter labor market, Lean based competitors, and shrinking profit margins, Plains Fabrication & Supply embarked on a Lean journey in the Spring of 2005 to look at ways of increasing the throughput of their process.

They began their Lean journey by selecting a specific shop area (small vessel area) as the first Lean area of Lean implementation.

LEAN successes

Over a 12-month period, Plains Fabrication & Supply achieved these remarkable successes in the small vessels area of their shop:


Other immediate gains included:

  • cash flow improvement
  • clean and organized work area
  • far less clutter and WIP
  • far less handling than previous state
  • less crane usage
  • less shop floor usage
  • opportunity to add new product line

Shop Floor - After Lean - click on picture to enlarge

Lean Journey
Lean Journey Lean Journey

Lean Success Stories:

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program

FARR Canada

Plains Fabrication & Supply

AIM Industries

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