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Seven Deadly Wastes in Manufacturing Today

September 22, 2014

A few tips for decreasing waste and increasing profits.

Eliminating waste or products that do not add value in the manufacturing process is the essence of lean manufacturing. Identifying areas where your company is wasting time and materials is the first step in implementing a lean manufacturing strategy. We have identified seven common wastes below to help you identify and streamline your business operations.

7 Common Wastes

  1. WAITING TIME- Consider how much time (from order to shipment) is spent on truly valuable manufacturing. Time spent waiting for work-in-process to go through the next step in production can be a huge waste for a company.
    Lean strategy: Implement processes that contribute to the continuous flow of production. Try to design practices where there are minimal periods of waiting between each manufacturing step.
  2. MOTION- Unnecessary lifting and other motions in the manufacturing process contribute to inefficient business practices, and potential injury among workers. Though it takes time and effort, unnecessary motion doesn’t add value to the product; it is simply a lengthy and sometimes burdensome route to create the product.
    Lean strategy: Make sure that workers and equipment are placed in a logical arrangement to prevent errors and ensure efficiency. Look for opportunities along the production line where you can eliminate or combine motions.
  3. TRANSPORTATION- Unnecessary transport of raw materials, work-in-process, or finished goods adds time to the process and no value. In addition, you sacrifice product quality as there is a good chance the product could be damaged in the process.
    Lean strategy: Create an organized process outlining the transition from raw materials to finished goods. Consider doing the whole process in one location.
  4. OVER PRODUCTION- Is the company making products before they are really needed? If so, this could lead to a surplus in inventory and increase your carrying costs.
    Lean strategy: Produce only the items needed according to customer demand to prevent excessive production.
  5. OVER PROCESSING- This problem is often disguised, which makes it difficult to eliminate. Over processing refers to unnecessary additional steps to produce what the customer wants.
    Lean strategy: Look for any way you can simplify the manufacturing process to prevent further error yet still meet customer demands. By comparing the two to your manufacturing practices you can better identify these additional steps.
  6. EXCESS RAW MATERIALS INVENTORY- All inventory requires handling and space, so if there is a surplus of inventory that isn’t immediately needed, it is a huge waste of time, effort, and space.
    Lean strategy: Replenish raw materials only as needed. Also, try to reduce time between production steps so that employees aren’t producing goods just because there is nothing else to do.
  7. PRODUCT DEFECTS- Production that requires rework, or is completely defective causes customer dissatisfaction, but also requires extra time and money. Taking extra time and resources to compensate for mistakes is extremely wasteful and needs to be avoided at all costs.
    Lean strategy: Identify and analyze recurring defects. Put detailed instructions in place to prevent further product flaws and look into implementing processes that detect imperfections immediately so they can be corrected before moving forward in the production process.

Once you’ve pinpointed your problem areas, work to organize a meeting with your manufacturing team to discuss your findings and plan your approach for tackling these issues. Customer satisfaction depends on impeccable products delivered in a timely manner, and this, in turn, depends on effective and efficient business practices.

Register now for the TMA/KLR session: “Implementing Lean Strategies that Work for Manufacturers”.

Learn more about how KLR works with Manufacturers.

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