Battling waste can be one of the most beneficial practices for a manufacturer.
There are many types of waste, and it’s not just material. You can waste time and energy as well. So let’s look at some types of waste:
|Assembly Defects||Material Defects|
Let’s look at how battling waste can help in several areas. For instance, look at what happens if you reduce an assembly defect. If you reduced the defects, you reduce the waste of the material that needs to be purchased. If you reduce this defect waste, you increase quality. This is desirable. You also reduce your energy usage. Making a bad part consumes energy without increasing profitable output. Also, by making fewer bad parts, your productivity goes up. You win in several areas!
Step 1: Identify the Waste
There may already be some obvious waste happening in your processes. However, many times, the waste is not obvious. The first step in detecting such waste is collecting data around the processes. The data can then be converted into information by putting it into context. For instance, using a heat map for monitoring energy will allow you to pinpoint high energy usage based on a process or comparing similar equipment.
Step 2: Create Benchmarks
The best way to discover waste is to have a benchmark value. You can then create a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for the value (see this article on KPIs). Once you have the KPI, you can monitor this data in real time and visualize the process’ function at or very near real time.
Step 3: Sort the Costs
Once the benchmarks are identified and monitored, you will begin to see where waste is occuring. You can then consider the costs of the waste and identify the most costly waste and what it means in dollars.
Step 4: Slash the Waste
Now that you have identified the areas of waste and the cost, you can explore ways to reduce it. The wonders of achieving this are that you synergistically increase quality, change wasteful behaviors, replace inefficient equipment, etc.
Battling waste brings many worthwhile effects. It can reduce costs, increase efficiencies, increase productivity, and increase margins.
So you have reduced your waste and are done right? Wrong. I chose the title “Battle Waste” instead of “Conquer Waste” because it is never over. No sooner do you reduce waste in one area than another area becomes the most costly waste. This is a never-ending battle, so once you find and reduce waste in one area you need to start over and spot the next area of waste.