The 7 Types of Waste that Plague Manufacturing

Meagan Douglas
Mon, Feb 8, 2016
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Which production plans eliminate defects and needless manufacturing steps?

Every manufacturing process is different. No matter the industry or market, however, there is a constant; companies want to get best possible return on their investments. This means global businesses must eliminate waste from their processes to outperform their competition and improve their bottom line.

The Lean Manufacturing Tools information blog shared the Japanese analysis of waste - or muda. According to certain Japanese manufacturers, there are seven mudas that plague typical production processes. All businesses need to use data collection procedures to gain insight into their operations and lookout for these common causes of waste:

1. Overproduction
Sometimes manufacturers make too many products. This means time and resources are wasted on creating merchandise that does nothing but sit on inventory shelves.

Businesses want products available when demand is high and should slow down procedures during lulls. Most industries, however, can't wait for orders to start production. Companies need automated data collection solutions so their consumer information is as timely as possible. By studying accurate data records from previous seasons, manufacturers may create projections for future demand.

Organizations might benefit from creating safety stock in case of sudden unexpected interest or to take advantage of low supply costs. These tactics can pay off if decision-makers track extra materials and limit buffer inventory strategies.

2. Overprocessing
There may be too many steps in a production process. Organizations have to recognize when smart machines or better options for merchandise assembly exist. Studying daily data collection processes may reveal when needless steps waste manpower or accelerate asset depreciation.

Demand Media suggested there may be a new reason companies want to simply manufacturing routines. Certain modern consumers - especially those buying food products - equate overprocessed to unhealthy and bad for the environment. When businesses have lean production routines, they can market their commitment to simple and natural solutions.

3. Inventory
Storing products costs a company money for overhead. Having inventory that doesn't move means the company has an overproduction problem and the items create other forms of waste. Dead products take up space and serve as obstacles to lean warehouse management operations.

Inventory also includes supplies used for manufacturing. The Lantech warehouse equipment company warned businesses against over-ordering raw materials because they may be stuck with useless inventory when processes or government regulations change.

4. Motion
Wasted motion can be the hardest problem to recognize. If a warehouse worker performs meaningless tasks like redundant picking paths, it means he or she does not spend their time accomplishing jobs that directly affect distribution and inventory management success.

The best way to recognize when motion is unnecessary is to put data collection solutions into the hands of employees on the move. When manufacturing workers, warehouse employees and supervisors use mobile data collection devices they can report actions as they happen, giving decision-makers full visibility of how time is spent.

5. Transportation
Companies must find solutions to remove every unnecessary step from the process of moving a product from a manufacturing shop to a customer. This may mean finding better paths for delivery trucks or shortening the distance workers must travel when preparing orders in a warehouse.

Mobile data collections strategies can capture how many times a company representative touches a product and records may highlight wasted steps. Finding better options not only reduces the amount of time and money invested in transport, but shorter truck routes and less plane trips are also better for the environment.

6. Waiting
If inventory workers sit around a warehouse waiting for deliveries, this is a clear sign of inefficiency. Eliminating down periods calls for coordination between management, sales agents, production line employees, warehouse workers and business partners.

Organizations may want to share their data collection records with their suppliers, so vendors know when inventory levels are low and it's time for a new shipment.

7. Defects
When a product doesn't work, a company can't sell it. Sometimes a product defect is a onetime thing, but automated data collection solutions need to alert companies to processes that may create a glut of unusable merchandise. When information processes yield real-time results, manufacturing and warehouse managers can respond to problems before they spiral out of control.

Complete company visibility created by automated data collections systems also provides an information resource for employees. Workers who can reference best practices on mobile practices may avoid mistakes that lead to product damage, spoilage or other forms of waste.

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