Kaizen tools to reduce material waste

KEYWORD: lean manufacturing

A top objective of manufacturing units is to achieve increased productivity without having to compromise on quality, but they face challenges in accomplishing it due to high rejects, long lead time in getting the output, unwanted inventory, etc. This leads to higher production costs, financial burden, and an inability to face the customers, the cumulative effect of all of which are businesses becoming less competitive, unviable that could result from even enclosure.

This article aims to offer practicable suggestions to entrepreneurs to enable them to overcome such challenges. By adopting and implementing lean manufacturing under a kaizen umbrella, they can find solutions and derive positive returns on their investments.

Lean production and lean manufacturing refer to a business model consisting of methods that focuses on delivering quality products on time at an affordable cost by eliminating wastes.

We will now move to describe two lean methods that you can use.

Value Stream Mapping, (VSM)

It is a process mapping method involving both the current and future steps. It facilitates the examination of a business process from the beginning to the end. In the form of a visual representation of material and information flows.  It operates under a framework of the ‘three-stage method’. Wherein the first stage describes the current step, the second identifies the root causes of the problems that act as barriers hindering improvements, how they can be rectified, which represents a ‘future state map’ and prepare and implement the plan that would bring about the changes for better in the production process of the company. It is comprehensive in that it uses communication, business, and management tool.

VSM charts out a set of specific actions, value and non-value added that is performed to bring a product out. It uses symbols to denote the process in terms of waiting, storage, queues, inspection, etc to aid the decision-making.

The unique advantage VSM offers is it enables visualization of the bigger picture by summing up the parts. It also enables the visualization of different changes at multiple places in the process that would impact the entire system. Plan and implement changes that would result in an efficient output.

Kaizen Events

Kaizen events also termed as ‘rapid process improvement events’ constitute a team activity formulated to eliminate wastes and make the desired changes through targeted application of ‘Lean methods’ as Total Productive Maintenance to identify the opportunities to eliminate wastes.  It involves cross-functional talent to come under a team within the organization to improve a process. The team also undertakes to implement the chosen improvements rapidly. Mostly within 72 hours from the initiation of the Kaizen event. Its critical advantage is that the solution does not involve large capital expenditure, (CAPEX).

In addition, since the underlying principle that drives Kaizen is continual improvements, no time is lost looking for perfect solutions. Thus, it is implementation-driven, involves the workforce by allowing them to be heard. Which fosters the team spirit to identify the root causes of the problems and participate in the implementation and the improvement is systems-based.

The 6S

Even though the above methods could be used without resorting to 6S, it is mentioned here as it can complement the other methods by creating a streamlined workplace on a solid base. Which can enhance the outcomes from the above lean processes.

6S represents an improvement over the 5S process by including the safety component.

The 6S is built on the pillars of:

  • sorting
  • setting in order
  • segregating
  • safeguarding
  • standardizing
  • sustaining

When the six pillars are organized systematically with the safety procedures maintain as originally envisaged, the workplace becomes a safer place that is set to deliver increase productivity.

In this article, we have addressed the challenges and dilemmas faced in manufacturing due to the occurrence of wastes and offered time-tested methods. Which you can embrace in order to derive the benefits.

Other Keywords: PROCESS, LEAN, KAIZEN, IMPROVEMENT, METHOD, WASTE, TEAM, INVOLVE, IMPLEMENT, lean manufacturing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *