Soap has been made since the Babylonians in 2800 B.C. The global soap market size was $34.09 billion in 2019 according to Fortune Business Insights*. Lean and Six Sigma are used in the manufacture of soap and detergents. We’ll look at three applications: two from Indonesia and one from Ivory Coast. Then we’ll finish with a video of how olive oil soap is made.

*Source: Fortune Business Insights


Using Lean Manufacturing and BLOCPLAN to Reduce Waste in a Laundry Soap Production Process: Indonesia


In a paper titled “Application of Lean Manufacturing method and BLOCPLAN algorithm for productivity improvement of a laundry soap bar production,” authors Ukurta Tarigan, Uni Pratama P Tarigan, and Akbar Rizky Rifangi discuss the integration of Lean manufacturing and BLOCPLAN to reduce waste in the laundry soap production process flow.

NOTE: BLOCPLAN is an algorithm used to improve facility layouts.

The paper includes:

  • Initial Layout of Production Floor
  • Current State Map and Analysis
  • SIPOC for Making Soap Bars
  • Process Activity Mapping
  • Activity Relationship Chart
  • BLOCPLAN Software Discussion
  • BLOCPLAN Proposed Layout
  • Proposed Future State Map

Improvements implemented led to a 33.4% increase in Process Cycle Efficiency and an increase in average daily production from 464 packs of soap bars to 696 packs per day.

You can read the paper here.


Using Lean Methodology to Reduce Wastes and Improve Material Handling Lead Time in a Bar Soap Factory: Indonesia


In an undergraduate thesis project titled “Material handling determination and inventory calculation using Lean methodology approach (case study: soap bar production factory),” author Winahyu Tyas Wicaksana discusses the use of value stream mapping, process activity mapping, and root cause analysis to reduce wastes and improve material handling lead time in a bar soap factory.

The thesis includes:

  • Flow Diagram of Soap Packaging Process
  • Current Substore Layout
  • Discussion of Various Phases of Value Stream Map Construction
  • Completed Value Stream Map for Soap Production
  • Material Handling Value Stream Map
  • Activity Classifications for Various Subprocesses
  • Waste Identification in Material Handling Process
  • Root Cause Analyses of Motion, Transportation, Waiting, and Inventory Wastes
  • Five Whys Analysis of Motion, Transportation, Waiting, and Inventory Wastes
  • Improvement Recommendations and Results

You can access the comprehensive thesis here.


Reducing the Manufacturing Cost of Bar Soaps: Ivory Coast


In an article titled “Continual Improvement In Small Soaps Company,” authors Borget Alfred Anoye and Adama Ouattara use quality improvement tools to reduce the manufacturing cost of bar soaps.

The article includes:

  • Ishikawa Diagram of High Manufacturing Cost
  • Pareto Chart of Principal Causes of High Manufacturing Cost
  • Analysis of Causes Discussion
  • Discussion of Planning and Implementing Proposed Change

You can read the article here.


Making Olive Oil Soap


See how Nablus Olive Oil Soap is made on the West Bank in this video from Insider News.

You can watch the video here.



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