Inside the Alcoa Business System (ABS)

The Alcoa Business System, or ABS, is an integrated set of principles and tools used to manage Alcoa businesses. The three overarching principles of ABS are:
  • Make to Use,
  • Eliminate Waste,
  • People Linchpin the System.

Make to Use
The Make to Use principle begins with Alcoa customers and is based on the ideal of:
  • Single-piece production
  • On demand
  • Defect free
  • At the lowest possible cost
  • Made safely

The principle is based on customer usage, as opposed to making to inventory.

Eliminate Waste
The Eliminate Waste principle is our drive toward the ideal of exposing and solving problems, when and where they occur, to continuously improve the cost, quality and speed of all our manufacturing and business processes.

People Linchpin the System
This third principle is the drive to create the people environment, engaging all our associates in identifying and solving the problems linked to our transition from "make to inventory" to "make to use" and the continuous improvements in costs, quality, and speed.

ABS and Cost Savings
While ABS has helped deliver substantial savings, there are significant opportunities ahead in both savings and in extending the entire business system of the company:
  • Of the more than 350 operating locations of the company, approximately 100 have realized significant gains, major improvements, or are on to setting new benchmark performance. At our other approximately 270 operating locations, we are either initiating ABS or are realizing the early gains that can be achieved.
  • We are using our years of experience applying ABS to systemically capture improvements faster and transfer knowledge across the organization more quickly.
  • Where we were initially operations-based, we are now redefining our value propositions and evolving into a market-driven company based on new operational capabilities, products, and technologies.
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