i) Overproduction – Although the idea of producing excess may seem appealing to serve as safety buffers, it cannot that be denied that at an initial stage, it overutilizes valuable resources. Monetary investments remain fixed during work-in-progress (WIP) and inventory along with increasing overhead / operating expenses.
Lean manufacturing system on the contrary, emphasizes on the production based on customer demands. The single-flow system is upheld, where only at the completion of work at one phase does it move to another keeping different phases ready to execute work.
ii) Waiting (Idle Time) – In manufacturing, several processes / activities / events accompany in the making of a product. When these events / processes are not well-synchronized, waiting (idle time) becomes an issue. Some of the examples of idle time include, bottlenecks in production that reducing scalability / efficiency, operators waiting for assets or tools, machine faces unexpected downtime, active unplanned maintenance and so on. Analyzing idle time events can help navigate to the root cause of reoccurring faults in production. Identifying the root cause of these issues are critical in eliminating waste.
iii) Defects – When a product fails to meet the quality and specifications, it is identified as defect. Once identified as defect, the product requires to be scrapped or reworked. With customer satisfaction as the crux of lean manufacturing, achieving zero defects in manufacturing is a priority.
It is advised to conduct a root cause analysis as part of lean manufacturing system to recognize and isolate possible reasons for defects in manufacturing. Lack of workforce training, mis or over handling of equipment, excess inventory, maintenance glitches are a few examples of root causes that can cause defects.
iv) Overprocessing – Overprocessing are any activity, event, process or communication that does not contribute to value addition or is redundant in its value component. Examples of overprocessing can be; lengthy and unnecessary levels of review / approval, immoderate quality inspections, inadequate product and scope descriptions.
Mapping of manufacturing processes / steps is essential as it will help in recognizing and isolating redundant steps that do not serve to increase value to business and / or customers. Once such steps are identified, process re-configuration can begin with elimination of wasteful events.
v) Inessential Transport – Transport does not reflect the supply of inbound and outbound logistics alone but also extends the shifting of materials and people within processes. Inessential transport leads to unnecessary time consumption leaving no value addition to the product. Contrary to value creation, inessential transport can cause increase in damage rectifying issues, hinder communication, delay production time, and even cause inefficient material utility.
Inessential transport can be eliminated from manufacturing by planning the trajectory of raw materials and people movements within the manufacturing facility. The trajectory of resource movements must be product-oriented and grouped according to the flow of phases in manufacturing. It must also be cautious to not involve people efforts in non-value generating tasks.
vi) Unnecessary Motion / Movement – Unnecessary motion refers to the unwanted migration / movement of people and machines in manufacturing. Unnecessary motion cause 3 primary issues; a) safety challenges, b) quality concerns and c) reduced productivity. Repetitive movements and poor ergonomics cause employee health crisis that negatively impacts the efficiency and incurs costs to employers. Simultaneously, safety challenges, quality concerns and wasted exertion causes a dip in overall factory operability and production.
Motion / movement or migration must be paced, natural, comfortable and flexible to operators / workforce. Mapping each step and observing people, receiving their suggestions to minimize motion of asset and people will enable the cut down of unnecessary motion across factory floor and within processes.
vii) Surplus Inventory – When manufacturing business hold surplus inventory, the issue points straight at poor planning and tracking, errors in changeovers, imbalanced production cycles and inaccurate forecasting systems. Housing surplus inventory negatively impacts cash flow in businesses as it keeps the investments idle until sales and holding back resources that could have utilized elsewhere.
Surplus inventory increases risks of theft, unchecked quality issues with an idle batch and damage due to calamities. To keep watch of a surplus inventory would require a management in place for which excess costs will be incurred by employers.
Therefore, it in the best interests of the business to avoid surplus inventory and practice in-time delivery of raw materials and production streamlining to conduct manufacturing to meet the demands of customers whilst reducing WIP (work-in-process).
viii) Unutilized Talent – Employing talent in the manufacturing business is a significant component. Less engagement of talent or underutilizing talent can take many forms such as; a) stagnant knowledge sharing, b) employees performing low-value or irrelevant tasks, c) lack of space for employee feedback and perspectives.
Frequent talent identifying and regular employee engagements to understand their perspectives and work satisfaction with career interests will enable to chart areas of underutilized talent. It keeps managers and leadership aware of gaps and likewise work towards harnessing employability skills and capability management.