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Top Lean Manufacturing Principles to Reduce Waste

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By Emilie A Lachance - January 06, 2020

Implementing lean into an organization is a bigger job than merely initiating an improvement program. Classic lean is a methodology focused around continuously improving operations through an entire organization’s efforts. Though specific projects or programs can exist within a lean implementation, the overall concept is the continual elimination of any costs or activities that do not contribute value for the customer. One significant area of opportunity that should not be overlooked is the elimination of waste as it is defined under lean.

Lean’s Seven Deadly Wastes

Lean manufacturing principles include eliminating waste or non-value-added activities from across the manufacturing operation. Within lean, eliminating waste in seven key areas represents the most significant opportunities for cost improvement. These seven areas are referred to as “Lean’s Seven Deadly Wastes” and are discussed below. The acronym TIM WOOD is useful for remembering them:

  1. T—Transport
  2. I—Inventory
  3. M—Motion
  4. W—Waiting
  5. O—Over-processing
  6. O—Overproduction
  7. D—Defects

Several miscellaneous wastes, not part of the original list, have been added by managers, and these can also represent significant savings. Some of these include wasted abilities, incoming raw material defects, or lost opportunities.  

Interested in learning more about how Smart Factory technology can improve your  bottom line? Download our Guide to Improving Shop Floor Management with Smart  Software today to learn more. 

Apply Lean Principles to Capture Saving from Each Type of Waste

Removing or reducing waste is accomplished by applying different lean principles to each type. A successful lean program means making significant progress eliminating the cost of waste. Managers striving to implement lean manufacturing principles can begin by reviewing the following list.  

Transport 

Principle:  Eliminate unnecessary transports, relocation, and motions of materials, tools, and people.  

Excess motion can occur between workstations, along production lines, or across the factory floor. Examine transports with respect to methods, volumes, and wait times. Use flow diagramming, design shorter travel distances, improved placement of inventory and tools, and reduced handling. Walking distances for personnel might also be shortened. 

Inventory

Principle: Balance raw material and production against customer demands to reduce excess inventories.

Excess inventory often represents costs that can be eliminated. Reducing unnecessary inventory frees plant and warehouse space, eliminates invested capital, and reduces damage and obsolescence.  

Motion

Principle: Analyze workplace and process flows to eliminate non-value-added movement.

Each workstation should be analyzed to eliminate unnecessary employee reaches, grasps, pick-ups, or moves. Also, this lean manufacturing principle can be applied to machine operations and move distances. Equipment can be modified or adjusted to minimize the travel distance of the product, raw material, or packaging materials.

Waiting

Principle: Eliminate any wait times for material, people, or equipment within or between operations. Ensure flows are balanced.

Unnecessary costs are added to a product whenever a material, machine, or employee waits during the product’s processing. Balancing process flows can reduce wait times, and managers should ensure output from one operation is correctly sized for the subsequent operation. Further, all production flows must be balanced to total customer order fulfillment rates.

Over-processing

Principle: Eliminate non-value-added process steps.

When processing steps do not add value for the customer, the steps incur unnecessary costs and represent waste. Analysis of a product’s manufacturing steps can uncover opportunities to reduce excess processing. An example of over-processing is double-checking a product quality when a single check is sufficient.

Overproduction

Principle: Eliminate excess work-in-process and finished goods inventory.

Excess inventories result from overproducing a part, sub-assembly, or finished product. These inventories are present as work-in-process or finished goods inventory. Analyzing this type of waste is especially important in food processing where the product is easily spoiled, damaged, or adversely impacted by the environment. 

Defects

Principle:  Eliminate all defects along the process flow and work toward “perfect” product quality.  

Defective product is easily recognizable as waste. Any rejected product that must be reworked or discarded adds cost to the total product for the customer. Eliminating this waste is clearly a lean objective. Incorrectly set quality control limits may cause rejection of an acceptable product or acceptance of a defective product. Process flows, control limits, and operating procedures should be analyzed to determine whether or not limits are correctly set and whether each step is necessary and adds value.  

Wastes Can Be Found Across the Organization

In addition to the above seven deadly wastes, managers have identified other areas where wastes can be eliminated. These include wasted talent, missed opportunities, and incoming raw material defects. These may include:

  • Poor communication
  • Misuse of ability and lack of training
  • Missed opportunities
  • Poor management
  • Ineffective policies  

Reclaiming the costs of wastes should be a top priority on any plant manager’s “to do” list. A practical, effective, and reasonably priced solution for cutting waste is utilizing the power of Worximity Inc.’s complete line of factory machine monitoring sensors and software. Using the latest in IoT technologies, Worximity delivers a practical, no-nonsense approach to monitoring process and production lines.  

Worximity’s suite of products includes sensors fastened to production machines, work stations, weight-checkers, and other devices. These sensors monitor the equipment and wirelessly transmit performance data to factory-based analytical software. Real-time results, such as OEE, are calculated and presented on factory-floor information dashboards or TileBoards. As minute-to-minute conditions change, any deviation from the expected performance is immediately noted, and employees can take corrective actions. To witness the capabilities of Worximity’s systems, contact us to schedule a free demonstration.   

Managers can use lean manufacturing principles throughout a plant’s processes to identify and eliminate costs. Losses through waste can be significant and efforts focused on waste elimination can pay big dividends. The seven deadly wastes, along with miscellaneous losses, should be major areas of study for companies striving to build the Smart Factory of tomorrow.

Guide to Improving Shop Floor Management with Digital Transformation

The Worximity Smart Food Factory solution is a low-cost hardware system that can be up and running in a few hours combined with an easy and intuitive yet powerful analytics dashboard that provides fast ROI to start and a roadmap to full-on IIoT success.

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