8 ways of Lean Manufacturing

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Lean methodology is all about the removal of waste within an operation. Lean waste management comes in many forms such as time, material, labor, etc., and it can prove to be one of the heaviest drains on profitability. In today’s time, lean manufacturing has identified 8 types of waste that don’t transform raw materials into an item that the customer will pay for.

  1. Transportation- When a plant design is poor, it causes waste in transportation. This can also lead to other wastes such as waiting or motion and can impact overhead costs like higher energy costs, fuel, etc. Value stream mapping and substantial changes in factory layout can reduce this waste.
  2. Inventory- Where there are holding costs, there is inventory waste. This can be caused due to purchasing or poor forecasting. It can also happen when the process link between manufacturing and purchasing is poorly designed. Purchasing raw materials when needed and reducing WIP can reduce inventory waste.
  3. Motion- Motion waste can prove to be expensive. Apart from raw materials, excess physical motion such as lifting and bending can result in non-value-added time and increased cost. However, with the help of efficient workplace design and facility layout, this waste can be taken care of.
  4. Waiting- This waste is not restricted to not only humans but idle equipment as well. It can also cause additional waste in the form of standard work not being followed or shortcuts being taken. Mitigating waiting waste can be achieved by improving process design and the creation of standard work.
  5. Overproduction – When certain components are produced more than needed, overproduction occurs. This causes a caterpillar effect in the production flow, which leads to staging and requires labor to move the WIP additional times. It can also hide defects that could’ve been caught if the processes were balanced. There are several tools that can control overproduction. Takt time is one of them that balances production rates between cells and departments. Measured jobs allow reduced set-up time, which further facilitates small batch flow.
  6. Over Processing- Whenever this happens, you know that the entire design process has been compromised upon. Some of the reasons behind excess processing can be lack of communication, data duplication, human error, etc. Process mapping can be really helpful to eliminate excess processing and optimize workflow. Besides, process mapping helps reporting, signoffs, and document control
  7. Defects- Defect impact resources, money, time, and most importantly customer satisfaction. Defects within a manufacturing environment consist of a lack of proper documentation or standards, poor design, and lack of quality control. Formalizing document control and adhering to thorough quality check methods in all production phases are bound to control defect waste.
  8. Skills- This type of waste occurs when a company fails to utilize its potential employee talent to its potential. It can cause assigning wrong tasks to employees or tasks they were not properly trained for. By engaging with employees and taking their ideas forward, along with providing training and growth opportunities, elimination of this waste is surely possible.

These 8 wastes are easy to understand and memorize. However, when it comes to implementation, there are numerous challenges a company faces. Why? Because lean demands change. Change demands the attitude of acceptance of every individual who is a part of the process. To become global leaders, you should understand that there is a continuous journey towards improvement. However small or big, always look for ways to do things better.


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