Lean manufacturing : Definition and example of waste

Equipment maintenance and efficient production go hand in hand when it comes to delivering the best product in the fastest way to a customer. Maintenance should be successfully implemented along the entire production chain to guarantee the most reliable outcome. This can happen only if wastes in manufacturing services are recognized and eliminated through the right lean production tools.

One of the major goals of a CMMS deployment, scheduled maintenance and TPM (total productive maintenance) routines in general is to reduce and/or completely remove the 7 big losses. These encompass the most common causes of equipment-based productivity losses in manufacturing and include equipment failures, setup and adjustments, idling and minor stops, reduced speed, process defects and reduced yield.

lean manufacturing example and definition

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Lean production or lean manufacturing is all about reducing material, labor and time waste. “Waste” can be defined as any activity that does not add value from the customer’s perspective and disrupts the production cycle. This implicates constant efforts from the design process to the manufacturing. All this leads to increased production efficiency, improved quality and reduced operating costs. The implementation of lean manufacturing tools requires in the first place the adoption of a lean culture within the workforce.

The 7 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing:

“The seven wastes” is a tool to further categorize “muda” (the Japanese word for waste) and was originally developed by Toyota’s Chief Engineer Taiichi Ohno as the core of the Toyota Production System. This concept is based on the belief that it is essential to understand what waste is and where it exists in order to eliminate it. There are 7 wastes that have been identified:

  • Waste 1 : Overproduction

The overproduction is associated with the massive production of a piece before it is actually required. Since over-supply requires additional resources, overproduction is highly costly to a manufacturing plant. Overproduction is considered as one of the most serious wastes since it can cause all other types of wastes and lead to excess inventory.

  • Waste 2 : Waiting

The waste “Waiting” occurs whenever goods are not moving or being processed. This usually happens when a certain stage of a product realization is finished, but the product can not be moved to the next stage due to equipment failure, poor material flow or long production runs.

  • Waste 3 : Inventory

Inventory waste results from the waste produced by unprocessed inventory.

  • Waste 4 : Transport

Excessive transport, movement and handling of the product between processes phases increases the manufacturing cycle time and negatively impacts production costs.

  • Waste 5 : Motion

The unnecessary motion is linked to ergonomics and includes all excessive bending, stretching, walking and lifting whether by a person or a machine, that could be minimized.

  • Waste 6 : Overprocessing

Overprocessing is associated with any component of the manufacturing process that is unnecessary: painting an area for example, that will never be seen or making some changes in the production cycle that don’t have any impact on the outcome.

  • Waste 7 : Defects

Quality defects results in rework or scrap and therefore represent one of the most expensive problems to organizations.

How to Eliminate Waste?

Once you have identified the waste and know where it comes from, you can implement different lean manufacturing tools to improve production management.

Consult the Mobility Work article “Best Management Tools to Master Industrial Maintenance” for better insights into the available lean manufacturing tools, including the 5S, PDCA, Ishikawa diagram, the 5Ws, Kaizen, Pareto and FMECA.

Most of these methods are often part of what is called the TPM (Total Productive Maintenance). Its goal is to improve the rate of equipment production by reducing a whole set of problems (breakdown, waste, etc.) related to the production equipment. TPM routines can be summarized as follows:

1. The maintenance of all industrial assets in a functional state through the regular performance of cleaning, greasing and all other required procedures.

2. Continuous maintenance performance while ensuring component production.

3. The involvement of all professionals in this process in order to promote and ensure the establishment of the TPM.

Regular Total Productive Maintenance routines result in limited or no breakdowns, improved production cycle and no defects. Furthermore, TPM improves team spirit by creating shared responsibility for equipment among plant floor workers.

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The deployment of next-gen, smart CMMS is at the core of a successful total productive maintenance. Mobility Work is a lean manufacturing tool, facilitating the daily performance of the maintenance team. Fast information exchange, critical equipment records, notifications, maintenance history are just some of the accessible features. Available 24/7, the mobile app can be accessed anytime and anywhere. The geolocation tool will lead you as fast as possible to the required piece of equipment. The implementation of Mobility Work at your organization supports the kaizen policy by pursuing cost reduction, precised spare parts management, reduced defects and downtimes and effective scheduling of the operators’ and technicians’ activities. All this leads to the successful elimination of muda, especially when the tool is user-friendly and employees are willing to use it.

Smart manufacturing is at the heart of industry 4.0. Lean manufacturing tools are the base of smart manufacturing and without them company’s evolvement is impossible. A quality computerized maintenance management system can be considered as the digital hubspot of an organization. This is a powerful tool that can process data and deliver real-time results, detected and communicated immediately to the staff. By collecting, combining and comparing every piece of information at your maintenance department, Mobility Work can support you in the elimination of waste and anticipate potential problems before they become failures.

You are interested in maintenance management and would like to learn more about this subject in order to increase your productivity and save costs? Let's plan a free online training with our team!

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