June 9, 2022

Eliminating The 8 Wastes Of Lean Manufacturing

With supply chains strained and resources limited, manufacturing companies are increasingly trying to eliminate waste from their production processes to maximize operational efficiency. To do so they're trying to eliminate the 8 Wastes of Lean.  But what are the 8 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing?

First, let’s understand what is meant by waste. Waste is anything that does not bring value to the final product a manufacturing company is producing. Waste is any cost incurred in a manufacturing process that doesn't benefit the end-user. As these inefficiencies collect they reduce productivity metrics like OEE score and seriously damage a company's ability to compete in the market.

Why is waste management critical to manufacturing companies?

Manufacturing wastes can disrupt supply chains and cause serious delays in product deliveries, thus compelling even loyal customers to opt for your competitors.

Lean Manufacturing was  a methodology developed as part of the Toyota Production System with the goal of creating a near perfect production system.  Some of the major wastes in lean manufacturing are in the form of time, material, and labor. Besides reducing waste, lean manufacturing processes provide a wide range of benefits including improving production process efficiency, improving productivity, and elevating product quality.

Data driven process improvement through Front Line Worker Platforms directly impacts OEE and improves quality control, as well as frees up employees for more productive work. A Front Line Worker platform integrates workers into their environment through the devices they naturally use in the flow of work such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets and Smart Glasses. They provide training, digital work flows and remote assistance to help front line workers with the goal of helping employees do their best work every time. In this article we are going to look at what are the 8 wastes of Lean and how Connected Worker Platforms can help.

The Eight Wastes

  1. Defects

Defects waste in manufacturing means any product that has a defect that doesn't meet quality standards or customer expectations. For any reported defects, the finished product needs to be scrapped and built again, thus impacting manufacturing time and resources.

A Connected Worker platform can overcome defects waste in the following ways:

  • Providing front line workers with high-quality training and standardized digital workflows, ensuring less product defects and process deviations.
  • By enabling root cause analysis of product defects and preventing them from happening again.
  • Capturing product defects through digitized audits.
  • Extending digitized audits to extended enterprise systems throughout the supply chain so that manufacturers can discover where defects happen on the way to the marketplace.
  1. Overproduction

Overproduction is the production of more finished goods than what's needed to meet consumer demand. While it is efficient to keep "buffer stocks" to meet last-minute orders, overproduction leads to major costs associated with storing excess product units, unnecessary machine running expenditure, increased labor and unsold inventory.

Connected Worker Platforms can eliminate overproduction waste by enabling front line workers to optimize their production capacity for “Just in Time” production by eliminating inefficiencies in production. With more efficient processes manufacturers can meet consumer demand with agility.

  1. Waiting

Waiting waste is related to supply chain delays, idling equipment, and worker related delays, or any form of "dead" time that can incur higher costs without any productivity. Waiting waste is often caused by unplanned machine downtime, lack of communication among different teams, installation delays, paper based processes and process bottlenecks. This type of waste can directly impact OEE performance.

Connected Worker platforms can minimize waiting times by providing real-time visibility into front line operations and automating job and work instruction assignments to reduce changeover time. High quality training also allows workers to finish tasks while adhering to a schedule.

  1. Transportation

Transportation waste often refers to overhead costs incurred due to expensive labor, high fuel costs, and wear and tear caused during the transportation of goods. Additionally, transportation waste refers to costs incurred due to delays in the movement of people and information. For example, transporting machine experts to remote facilities to resolve major problems.

With Connected Worker Platforms, manufacturers can avail expert help “virtually” using Remote Assist technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) so experts won’t have to be flown in for emergency procedures. But hopefully calling in remote expertise is a last resort.

Standardized processes and on demand, searchable digital training resources facilitate better knowledge sharing among front line operators. Not only is training easily available but it's searchable. You don't need to worry about finding it in a three ring binder. Connected Worker Platforms improve the transportation of information and reduces dependence on remote experts.

  1. Inventory

Inventory waste is often the result of overproduction waste in manufacturing companies. Excess inventory is caused by storing excess raw materials, product stocks, and equipment to meet hypothetical customer demand surges. Eliminating overproduction is the best way of preventing inventory waste.

To optimize shorter turnaround times and remove inventory waste, Connected Worker Platforms provide accurate data about the number of labor hours required to produce any inventory stock item and remove production inefficiencies through standardization. In this way manufacturers can be ready to meet consumer demand using data rather than uninformed hypothesis.

  1. Movement

Movement waste is also referred to as motion waste. Movement waste is associated with the unnecessary movement of people and machines. Examples of motion waste include employees (or front line teams) taking unnecessary physical steps to complete their daily tasks or machines being moved regularly. This is often caused by poor design in the factory or layout of the manufacturing facility or lack of standardized processes.

With a Connected Worker Platform, workers' movements can be tracked, and operating procedures can be rectified for any wastes arising from inefficient manufacturing processes and factory layouts.

  1. Overprocessing

Overprocessing or excess processing waste refers to any unnecessary or redundant process steps in production. This is typically caused by poor project management during the development of a product and a lack of holistic visibility. When manufacturing companies don’t understand customer needs, they add excess features that consume both labor and machine resources. They improve processes without asking should the process exist in the first place?

A Connected Worker Platform can eliminate excess processing waste by optimizing the manufacturing processes based on the available production data. Management gains a holistic view and can optimize or eliminate processes to  reduce over processing.

  1. Non-utilized talent

Non-utilized talent waste is the eighth or latest addition to the list of lean manufacturing wastes. This waste refers to the underutilization of manufacturing employees or lack of engagement and has become increasingly common. Non-utilized talent waste can be caused by high-value talent being used in low-value tasks or employees working in departmental "silos" that prevent knowledge sharing. This reduces employee retention and is a primary cause of the Great Resignation. With paper-based or manual processes, front line employees have lower job satisfaction levels and lack the necessary technical support to do their best work.

Connected Worker Platforms provide knowledge support that improves workforce utilization and empowers front line workers with digital workflows and remote assistance tools. Front line teams are freed from having to spend their time doing redunant, soul sucking dual data entry and can focus on the technical task they've been training for. Technicians have the time now to point out problems in their processes and communicate issues immediately to management with chat integrations, automatic job completion reports and key word supported Smart Alerts. This increased ability to communicate allows them to become problem solvers and point to non-value-adding steps and help eliminate them. This gives them ownership over their work and allows them to seek perfection.

ConclusionLean manufacturing is aimed at eliminating these 8 wastes and improving processes in manufacturing facilities to reach near perfect production.

Atheer Front Line Worker Platform is the best software solution for enabling Lean Manufacturing.  Atheer can empower your front line workforce and help them achieve their potential. Our low code/no code Connected Worker platform is designed to leverage the devices your front line teams use naturally in the flow of work to minimize or eliminate the 8 wastes of lean manufacturing.

Most companies operate at a 60 to 65% OEE score. World is class is 85%.  Want to improve your OEE score to world class? Atheer improves OEE by increase machine availability, performance and quality through improve machine monitoring and service task.  Our enterprise grade software  extend across your entire supply chain to identify where quality defects are created and help eliminate them.

Customers describe working with Atheer like being a part of the family. Our experts are dedicated to helping you make the changes your business needs painlessly. Want to learn how our team will make it easy for you to achieve digital transformation?

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Micki Collart

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