In the most successful implementations of lean the front line operators will have been coached to a level that they feel empowered to remove waste autonomously. They will also WANT to do it! We must keep it simple if we want people to behave autonomously.
There are typically 8 types of wastes in our manufacturing processes, which can be remembered by a simple acronym TIM WOODY. Here are the 8 manufacturing wastes with practical examples on how to identify and eliminate them:
How to identify: A simple way to gain a snapshot of this is to use a Spaghetti Diagram. Tag yourself to a product (on the shop floor, not from the office) and follow it through the process in real time. Draw up the results on your Spaghetti Diagram and challenge the distance travelled overall and between processes.
How to eliminate: Look for opportunities to move processes closer together and localise material/components storage.
How to identify: The dust test, the thickness of dust on stock. A check on when materials last moved. If this is months ago and we have piles of stock then we have a problem. The stock ratio should be aligned with customer demand for each of your product types so challenge stock turns (Stock Turns = £ Good Sold/£ Avg Stock Value).
How to eliminate: Introduce Kanban, reduce batch sizes and improve stock control methods.
How to identify: This can only be achieved by spending time at the coal face. You need to observe the process and measure the time people are spending adding value. People should not be walking empty handed between processes due to poor design of layout or lack of tools/equipment.
How to eliminate: Have tools/equipment and materials for each process step to hand.
How to identify: People standing idle due to materials or product not arriving on time. People working on product that is not required due to poor scheduling. People not able to move based on customer demand due to lack of training.
How to eliminate: Work on balancing the production line and multi skilling of people.
How to identify: Probably the most difficult of the wastes to see immediately. Use the 80/20 rule and spend time around the 20% of products that are providing 80% of sales. Look for opportunities to re-engineer the products without the loss of value added to the customer or quality. This is always best achieved with a team that includes Sales, Design, Engineering, Purchasing and Manufacturing.
How to eliminate: Design for manufacture.
How to identify: Manufacturing products above the level of customer demand. Usually you would expect to hear from people “we build a stock of these just in case” or “we make a few extra because we sometimes have quality failures”.
How to eliminate: Make to order and strive for single piece flow.
How to identify: First place to go is always the scrap bins. Has every material, component or product been recorded before it has been scrapped? Do we have a record of reason codes as to why each of these items is a defect? Use a Pareto Diagram to identify the biggest cause of problems and work with a cross functional team to identify improvement opportunities.
How to eliminate: Introduce Standardisation and be disciplined with quality control.
How to identify: People not moving around enough to know whether they are best suited to a different operation or function. Lack of focus on learning and development and supporting people in improving their skills. Lack of utilisation of existing people skills. People not being happy in their role or being listened to when they voice their opinion.
How to eliminate: Be a learning organisation and introduce a coaching approach to people development.
We hope you found these tips useful and wish you well with your own journey.