Improving the Quality of Your Workplace
If your company is struggling with an overly complicated manufacturing process, perhaps it’s time to investigate whether waste is an issue. Not only does waste reduction allow you to be more sustainable, but there are production and cost savings as well. We’ve categorized some of the most common types of waste found in the manufacturing industry, according to Reliable Plant magazine.
Transporting and movement – Transferring product or stock from one location to another shouldn’t happen unless it’s necessary. Same goes for having unneeded travel between workstations or distance that makes the overall production process more inefficient. Check to ensure your manufacturing flows properly and you don’t have workers frequently in wait mode because they don’t have everything needed to complete a task. These are red flags that need to be addressed.
Inventory and overproduction – It’s important to use software solutions to better monitor and track inventory more effectively. The last thing you want is to overproduce products, because that in turn means excess inventory, overstock and ‘waste’ sitting on shelves. How full are your warehouse shelves? Do you have too much obsolete product taking up space? If so, it’s time to tackle this area of waste.
Defects and over-processing – The absolute last area where you want waste is in the department of defects or over-processing. Whether the root issue is outdated equipment, lack of skills, inadequate training, or the use of low quality suppliers, this can cost a company excessive amounts of time and money. Fixing these areas of waste are crucial to long-term success.
Here’s how you can address waste in the workplace and ensure your operations are as lean as possible.
1.Just in Time (JIT) manufacturing – This Toyota-created philosophy has a number of benefits. The premise of JIT is to produce only what is needed when it is needed therefore removing excess material from the supply chain. It takes out the waste associated with overproducing excessive stock. Instead of forecasting, companies create a simplified system that uses tools to pull production through a process based on orders received. It is meant to reduce stock and lead times, helping save money in scrapping, handling, obsolete parts and more. Sounds simple enough but it’s quite difficult to achieve. That’s why it must be part of a broader lean manufacturing initiative that also addresses standardized operations, proper flow and layout, quality and more.
2.Lean audits – To determine how lean your organization is, consider an audit that analyzes how much waste exists in your organization. It’s best to hire a third-party expert or audit team so that there is no vested interest in the outcome. Look closely at inventory, supply chain management and operational procedures and make sure you have a scoring system that works for your management team. Address all relevant areas where waste is a concern.
3.Incentive programs – Employees can play a role in creating an environment free of waste. Consider an incentive program that allows for the real-time reporting of issues. Corvex believes the worker is the greatest source of information and continuous improvement. It has a platform that offers real-time feedback so leadership can quickly review areas of concern, detect any patterns and identify solutions. This helps cut waste quickly from the process and leads to a more effective work environment.