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What Are The 8 Wastes Of Lean Manufacturing?

Have you ever wondered what lean manufacturing is? To put it simply, lean manufacturing is a system designed to eliminate waste in your business process and optimize your workflow. Doing this will result in delivering true customer value and a fully engaged workforce. The concept of lean manufacturing has been around for decades, but it has predominantly been used in the manufacturing industry, with growth seen in the healthcare and finance services over the past 10 years. Primarily, it helps to make your life much easier at work.

Lean manufacturing focuses on eliminating the 8 types of waste as defined by the lean system. There is a very relevant acronym for this, and it is known as DOWNTIME. There are other acronyms out there like TIM WOODS, but I prefer to use this one as I feel it resonates better.

The reason being that waste = downtime.

Anytime a step or action is taken that does not add true value to the process will create a moment where the process stops. From the time the process stops until the moment it picks back up again can be considered downtime.

What Is Downtime In Lean Production?

DOWNTIME stands for Defect, Overproduction, Waiting, Non-Utilized Talent, Transportation, Inventory, Motion, and Extra Processing.

D – Defects – Effort required as a result of rework, scrap, and incorrect information or data

  • Part fails due to poor supplier quality
  • Part fails dimensional inspection due to machining error
  • The same fault on a machine occurring twice
  • Incorrect engineering drawing
  • Assembly instructions not updated

O – Overproduction – Producing more than required or producing it too soon

  • Manufacturing widgets to fill the warehouse with no orders
  • Extra approvals
  • Redundant quality checks
  • Producing product early to recognize financials

W – Waiting – Wasted time waiting for the next step in the process to take place

  • Standing at a machine that has a “warm-up” time
  • Waiting for an engineering decision before moving forward
  • Waiting for an email response

N – Non-Utilized Talent

  • Leveraging a known skill within a team member
  • Individuals that perform robotic movements i.e. (data movement or assemblers)
  • Spending time waiting while another task could be completed

T – Transportation – Unnecessary movement of material, data, and parts

  • Moving parts from one workstation to another
  • Scanning a PDF and emailing it to someone
  • Relocating material to make space for other material

I – Inventory

  • Purchasing just in case parts
  • Inventory not moving
  • Work in progress
  • Unread emails

M – Motion

  • Walking from your desk to the conference room for an “update”
  • Mouse clicks that are unnecessary
  • Walking to a tool crib to pick up a tool and then walk back
  • Walking around the shop to build a kit for a preventative maintenance task

E – Extra Processing – Doing more work or higher quality work than your customer requires

  • More than required QC inspections
  • Scanning a PDF and emailing it to someone
  • Manually entering data into an ERP
  • Making paper part of the process

Lean is a targeted approach to eliminating waste and elevating your team’s capacity to innovate. The more time people have to focus on the real problem, the more engaged they become.