Cement Goes Lean

With help from BCG, a building materials company was able to lower cement production costs by 20%.

A cement company wanted to improve the operational efficiency of one of its facilities. BCG helped guide the company through a comprehensive Lean Transformation Program. The initiative started with one factory and eventually spread to an entire region.

The lean transformation program had social and technical components, both designed to score “quick wins” where possible and build organizational buy-in at important stages. Teams from BCG and the cement company collaborated on more than 50 improvement projects across plant departments. Some projects targeted direct product cost centers such as diesel consumption, outsourcing fees, and truck turnaround time. Other projects aimed to improve efficiency through safety initiatives or productivity enhancements.

The comprehensive program led to significant improvements across a wide range of key performance indicators. Production efficiency initiatives boosted material throughput by 10%, and supply chain improvements yielded a 10-15% reduction in freight costs. Overall power consumption dropped by 10%, and thermal consumption fell by 7%. The need for costly outside contractors was reduced through better use of employees’ time.

The lean program that began at a single cement company plant soon spread to other facilities throughout the region. The needs at each plant varied, but the lean program is flexible enough to address a variety of specialized requirements.

Process Industries & Building Materials