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What is Lean Waste Elimination?

Waste Elimination

At the core of Lean Manufacturing is the concept of Continuous Improvement. The relentless focus on making small incremental improvements will result in transformational change over time.

These improvements are aimed at eliminating WASTE out of the process. This waste is defined from the customers’ perspective and includes anything the customer is unlikely to pay for including obvious waste such as material offcuts, corrections, and adjustments, but needs to be more widely defined to include all unproductive activity. It is also called non-value adding steps.

Some waste is easy to spot, but most of it is so ingrained that it is difficult to identify, let alone eliminate. Waste -or so-called Muda- is therefore broken down into 8 categories.

Transport                            – Unnecessary movement of parts or equipment

Inventory                             – Holding excess stock

Motion                                 – Unnecessary people movement

Waiting                                – Not working due to waiting for parts, machines, information etc

Over Production                – Making more than the customer needs

Over Processing                 – Doing more than needed to get the job done

Defects                                – Any rework or scrap produced.

Staff Skills                           – Underutilisation of people’s skills and knowledge

 The acronym TIM WOODS helps to remember the 8 Wastes.

Ideas for waste elimination can be as simple as re-arranging tool storage to be closer to a workstation reducing motion, ordering exactly the right amount of ingredients, or removing unnecessary admin approvals.

Waste elimination is best implemented by the people that do the work and successful Lean organisations train all their employees to “see” waste and provide them with the tools to eliminate it.

Better never stops. Incremental gains will continue to drive performance well into the future.

 

About the author: Liddy Bakker is the Productivity Improvement and Climate Action Specialist at Productivity People