The 7 Wastes, they rob us blind!

Getting your teams SEEING & ELIMINATING WASTE is a grass root fundamental in business nowadays.

Sounds obvious really, but how many people came to work today to spend their time on waste? Some maybe! But not most. So what is waste, and how do you identify it?

Some waste is obvious. But other forms of waste are more difficult to spot or to solve. I’m sure in most organisations it’s sometimes very difficult to identify what is waste and what is not, but make no mistake the root of all unprofitable activity links back to them.

7 Wastes Infographic

Identifying and eliminating waste should not be a rare event conducted by process re-engineering every few years. It should be a regular process, built into regular iterations, determined as much as possible by your people, and tackled in small, timely steps.

Making improvements little-but-often in this way creates a culture of continuous improvement – a learning environment – which for some organisations could potentially give you the edge over competitors.

The 7 Wastes: (These 7 Wastes come to work every day, never have a day’ off sick or take a holiday, they don’t pick-up a salary, BUT they rob us blind! Meet the HIDDEN Employee TIM WOOD)

T – Transport: The conveyance or transportation of material or parts adds no value

I –  Inventory: Inventory is any quantities of parts or material held within the system which are not being worked on.

M – Motion: Any motion by operators or machines when carrying out cycles of work which does not add value, IS WASTE!

W – Waiting: occurs when either material or operators wait for machines to complete cycles of work.

O – Overproduction: occurs when product is manufactured in excess of customer demand or in advance of customer demand.

O – Over-Processing: Where resource or effort is applied to a product or process that adds cost but no value for the customer.

D – Defects: (including all rework): Any manufactured product which does not meet customer requirements after the normal process, IS WASTE!

7 Wastes within a process

For further information on how we can help you eliminate these wastes, call 0330 311 2820 or email

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How Good is Your Factory? Are there Opportunities?

When you walk your factory floors there are nine items to get an accurate first impression of how lean you are.

1. Work Stations?
Are they clean, organised, free from unnecessary material and equipment?
Are tools organized, identified and easy to find?
(Are 5S’s in place? Visual labeling? Is the factory well lit? Is equipment clean? Supervision and support personnel on shop floor? Metal on metal contact? Safety hazards? Debris on the floors? Check out the bathroom cleanliness.)

2. How many Monuments do you see?
Monuments are massive machines anchored to the deck, not easily moved to which material has to be delivered to, can cause issues with the flow of product (lack of flexibility)
Are they still in use? Not to be confused with age, often older machines are purpose built and give us flexibility in cellular manufacturing. Can machinery, material locations, drop offs be easily rearranged?

3.Work in Process?
Are there piles and piles of Work in Process (WIP)? Has some of it grown roots, celebrated its 1st, 2nd even 3rd birthdays? Does it have any paperwork? Do you have HOT items?
In the ideal factory you should only have the WIP you are working on and its classed as Standard in Process Stock (SIPS) in my eyes as it is controlled.

4. Can everyone see if they are on Target or Behind Schedule?
Hour by hour monitoring, or close to real time as you can get. Can you see the Abnormal from Normal? Use Red and Green to distinguish. Is abnormal recorded for root cause corrective action?

5. What other Metrics do your teams have?
What charts, graphs, objectives, are posted in the area? Are they a Standard Document? (revision controlled, time and date stamped)
Are the Metrics up to date, reviewed, actioned? Again are they on Target? Can you see the Abnormal from Normal easily?

6. Are Materials delivered to or stacked at the Point of Use?
If a worker loses a component (screw, nut, rivet) do they have to go to the stockroom? Ask yourself how are items replenished? Does the replenishment depend on a crane or forklift?

7. Does the Product Flow?
Through a cell, moving line or in large batches or lots? Are associates close together, can they talk to one another, see one another’s WIP, do they help each other out if something goes wrong?

8. Look at the Testing and Inspection?
Where is the Product inspected and tested? Do the associates do most of the inspections or does the product move to another area? Do you have large numbers of inspectors? What is your inspection backlog? Are your defects recorded, reviewed actioned? Are they reducing?

9. Ask! Talk! Communicate! Question!
The biggest and most important. Show dignity and respect at all times, question and challenge, talk to the people on the front line and ask why? Understand? Use your senses.
This list is not definitive and its definitely not just for manufacturing, you apply to all functions, businesses, sectors, industries. Now Go Look See!

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