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Top Tips to Achieve Zero Manufacturing Waste

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By Emilie A Lachance - June 08, 2020

Manufacturing waste, within the concept of lean manufacturing, is defined as any activity in the manufacturing process that doesn’t add value to the product or for which a customer is unwilling to pay. A primary objective of a company’s improvement efforts, then, is to seek to achieve zero manufacturing waste across the entire process.  

Many professionals estimate that waste constitutes as much as 95 percent of production time. Because waste makes up such a large part of the costs of production, continuous improvement projects should focus significant efforts on eliminating as much waste as possible. An essential ingredient in continuous improvement projects is Worximity Technology's Smart Factory analytics, which can capture real-time performance data to support waste reduction efforts.

The COVID-19 outbreak has placed unusual pressures on processors to deliver an increasingly diverse mix of products, faster and at lower costs. Worximity Technology has partnered with companies to meet these challenges. Our performance monitoring systems produce production data that can be used to uncover sources of lost manufacturing time, product defects, and stops in production. Together, we have helped companies manage the unusual production demands of COVID-19 and assisted them in improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The Eight Major Areas of Waste and Tips to Eliminate

Lean manufacturing principles recognize eight areas of manufacturing waste. Often, managers refer to the eight wastes by the acronym TIM WOODS, which stands for transport, inventory, motion, waiting, overproduction, overprocessing, defects, and skills (i.e., failure to utilize available skills). These eight wastes are detailed below, along with some waste reduction tips.   

1. Transports and Moves

When material moves through the plant in a zigzag pattern, waste occurs because of the required extra handling and storage.  

  • Reduce product buildup between steps to avoid extra moves and storage. Use process flow mapping.
  • Unnecessary process steps can create extra moves and transfers.
  • Eliminate unnecessary transfers between operations. One operation should feed directly to the subsequent operation.

2. Inventory 

Excess WIP inventory requires invested capital and may become obsolete or damaged. Extra stock represents waste, which can be eliminated.

  • Avoid excess inventory by ensuring production volumes are balanced between steps.  
  • Plan production schedules to correspond to customer requirements. Imbalances result in excess inventory.
  • Data from well-designed production monitoring systems can help reduce excess inventories.   

3. Moves and Unnecessary Motions 

Any motion, operation, or work step that does not add value to the product is a production waste.  

  • Analyze process steps to eliminate unnecessary reaching, walking, bending, and other movements. Use correct and up-to-date process procedures.
  • Arrange workstations to minimize motions. Keep the area clean and free of obstacles.
  • Poor process workflows can lead to unneeded moves and transfers.

4. Wait Time 

Wait time is a significant source of manufacturing waste. Identify unneeded waiting and develop steps for its elimination.  

  • Poorly designed production schedules can lead to materials waiting for processing.
  • Implement preventative maintenance programs to reduce unplanned breakdowns.
  • Analyze and reduce setup times to reduce material wait times.   

5. Overproduction 

Producing products over the amount required can result in a buildup of work-in-process inventory. This buildup represents excess costs and is a manufacturing waste.

  • Understand and confirm customer requirements. 
  • Make sure the production plan is clear and correct.
  • Uncertainty about the capabilities of the manufacturing process can lead to overproduction on a “just in case” basis.

6. Overprocessing 

Unneeded, non-value-added process steps should be eliminated. Work done on material over and above what the customer requires is considered production waste.  

  • Ensure specifications match customer requirements and expectations.
  • Reduce human error through training.
  • Ensure production schedules and customer requirements match.  

7. Defects

Any product that must be scrapped or reworked is considered waste and should be eliminated. 

  • Improve process reliability through preventative maintenance.
  • Ensure procedures are up to date and employees are fully trained.
  • Ensure machine settings are correct and standardized.

8. Skills/Underutilized or Unused Personnel/Talent 

Underutilized talent represents a loss to the organization.

  • Avoid assigning non-value-added paperwork or administrative tasks to production personnel.
  • Ensure personnel are fully trained and matched to their job duties.
  • Develop effective teamwork among production personnel. Solicit ideas and encourage creative thinking to develop improvement opportunities.
  • Provide continuing education and training to all employees. 

Apply Technology to Reduce Manufacturing Waste and Improve ROI

Eliminating manufacturing waste can have a positive financial impact on a manufacturing operation. Calculating ROI for waste reduction improvements can demonstrate the benefits of improvement programs. The eight wastes noted above constitute substantial costs for processors. Therefore, significant ROI improvement can be realized by implementing waste reduction changes. To estimate potential ROI improvement in your plant, use Worximity’s ROI calculator.

Worximity can partner with your company to help reduce waste and generate significant increases in ROI for your operations. Our TileConnect equipment sensors collect production data in real time and send it to the cloud. This data is then analyzed using our Smart Factory analytics. Based on the data collected, areas of manufacturing waste can be identified and improvements implemented. A structured program of improvement can raise ROI, reduce costs, and improve throughput. Contact Worximity today if you have any questions, or connect with us to request a demo.

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