How to Reduce Waste in Manufacturing
Look at the 7 wastes in Lean Manufacturing & consider some of the most useful questions you can ask to evaluate how efficient the production process is.
The idea behind RPA is to walk through a production facility — to ask questions and make observations — in order to provide an independent assessment of a manufacturing facility.
Which things do we look for?
One of the things we take into account is the seven classic cases of manufacturing waste* as defined by the principles of Lean Manufacturing.
*The acronym TIMWOOD is often used as a mnemonic for each of the seven wastes:
You may also hear of these wastes by the Japanese term muda, which was the original term used by the Chief Engineer of Toyota, the late Taiichi Ohno, who is credited as the driving factor behind the development of the world-renowned Toyota Production System (TPS), which has evolved into today's Lean Manufacturing philosophy.
Let's look at each of the seven wastes in Lean Manufacturing and consider some of the most useful questions you can ask to evaluate how "lean" and efficient the production process is at a particular facility.
1. Transport Waste And Why It's A Problem
The cost of material handling (known as transport waste in lean manufacturing lingo) drives up the cost of final manufactured products without adding value. Moving raw materials, Work-in-Progress (WIP), and finished goods back and forth require additional staffing resources and storage costs, and it increases the risk of expensive damage to materials and goods.
Here some of the key points you should look into to identify transport waste:
• Are production materials stored beside the line?
• Is material moved only once and for a short distance (in appropriate containers)?
• Is the production flow a continuous line layout?
• Is the factory clean, orderly, and quiet?
• Does visual labeling identify everything?
• Is everything stored in its own dedicated place?
2. Inventory Waste And Why It's A Problem
On-hand inventory levels of raw materials, Work-in-Progress (WIP), and finished goods need to be managed carefully. If inventories get too low, there will be delays in production or in providing finished goods to customers.
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