Managing waste at your manufacturing plant
"Lean" manufacturing has long been a manufacturing technique that manufacturers strive to embody.No one wants waste in their business.Wasting resources means throwing money out of the window and subjecting your company poor press especially if your waste has any negative association with environmental protection.Managing waste at your manufacturing plant has only advantages when it can be done efficiently and as cost effectively as possible.Do not be fooled into thinking that all of your waste problems can be solved in a matter of weeks, months or even years.Many manufacturing plants spend their entire time operating striving to have less and less waste. Although it may seem like your company will never full be rid of all kinds of waste, there are small things that can be done on a daily basis to make small improvements consistently over time.
- Wasted time - When most people think of reducing waste, the first thing that comes to mind is material waste.Although there is no doubt that material waste is costly, wasted time can actually do more harm to a company.Wasted time means wasted dollars.Any time a machine is down, an employee error is corrected, or a product is not made to standard, means repeating a process over again that should have been done right the first time.Managers and supervisors are hired, trained and given raises just to make sure that time is not wasted.Almost every type of waste, whether it be materials, inferior products or high employee turn over, can be tied back to an amount of time that was lost and money that was wasted.
- - Wasted inventory - An area of waste that many companies are slow to recognize is wasted inventory.There are many companies that make products in large numbers with no guarantee that they will sell or turn over inventory in a timely manner.While there are companies that have a good grip on only making enough products to fill demand, there are other companies that over produce and products sit in inventory taking up precious space and having wasted precious resources.The cost of square footage needed to store inventory items alone can be monumental.Companies that can perfectly correlate supply and demand by only making products for which there are known buyers, often have the least amount of problems with wasted inventory.
- - Defective products - Perhaps the most frustrating area of waste that a manufacturing plant can experience is with any defective products.Defective products are products that have had time and money invested in them but in the end do not meet the standards to be sold to the public.These defective products may have parts that could be recycled but there are many manufactured products that cannot be salvaged after a certain part in the production process and will only end up as waste.
- - Waste hazards and safety concerns - The manufacturing industry has been under a microscope lately when it comes to having environmental protection agencies making sure that they manage the levels of pollution and harmful waste that come from their plants.Many manufacturers have had to close down business because of the negative press and pressure they receive to clean up their act.
- - Wasted labor - Assembly line production and dual function performing equipment are just a couple ways that manufacturers are attempting to streamline labor and make their production process as efficient as possible.Eliminating even one unnecessary step in the production process can mean huge savings in the long run.Look at your operations and see where jobs can be combined or where new ideas are needed to bring wasted labor time down.