Whether your company is already engaged in lean manufacturing or wanting to reduce the onset of waste in general, managers need to be able to clearly identify the different types of waste and how to handle them.

Waste is a by-product of the manufacturing process, not just in waste materials but also waste steps within a process of production. Many will try to look at waste throughout the entire company and will struggle, therefore it is better to break down the different types of waste and identify them one by one.

The 5 top waste categories are:

Inventory Waste – If you stockpile raw materials, it is best to check their quality and usefulness. The same for completed products, if they are end of the line stock that has been left tucked away in a warehouse they may no longer be of use. The overheads for storing these inventory items can be adding wasteful costs to the company expenses. Consider switching to a just in time (JIT) production method to avoid stockpiling raw materials.

Overproduction Waste – When producing items in expectation of orders there can be additional stock sat waiting to be sold. There is no guarantee this stock will be sold and therefore creates a waste in materials and storage fees. Like Inventory Waste, switching to a JIT production method can reduce the amount of overproduced stock. This may involve a bit of trial and error to get the right production levels but beneficial once obtained.

Waste of Manpower – Big mistakes or repeated mistakes due to human error can cost a company, wasting resources and money. To avoid this, train staff at all levels through quality training programs. Quality training helps build an efficient work force and reduces the waste of resources and time. Even a member of staff currently has a higher skill set than their current role requires, consider moving them to a more beneficial role where their skills are not being wasted. The appreciation for their skill set will further motivate the staff member and improve their efficiency.

Waiting Times – From waiting for materials to arrive, to waiting at workstations for processes to begin. There are many places within the whole production process where time is wasted waiting for something to happen before the next step can be actioned. Even the movement from one workstation to another can add waiting time. Consider re-arranging the work floor to reduce the waiting times between stations. The use of highly trained staff members on the different work stations will also remove the waiting times for a process to be complete per workstation.

Defects – One of the most obvious categories of waste is defects within the end products. These can be reduced by quality checks throughout the entire process and skilled staff members to identify recurring mistakes within the process. Involving the whole workforce in identifying faulty aspects of the process will keep the workforce engaged towards the same goal, and help to quickly identify any issues before they become bigger problems. Reducing costs, improving equality and the value of the end product.

To effectively identify waste factors within the company you need the whole company on board and collaborating to remove them before the costs accumulate to higher than budgeted for. Every time a waste factor is identified, re-map the process again, create key performance indicators and monitor the process until the amount of waste is minimized. If you are struggling to identify waste factors after categorizing as above and implementing new plans then it may be time to call in third party help to offer an outside view on your process.

Book a consultation with us today to help reduce the waste within your company.