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Lean Manufacturing: Eliminating the 8 Hidden Wastes – Part 7 of 8. The M in DOWNTIME


Motion waste is the unnecessary movement of people, product or equipment that adds no value to a process. Workers walk back and forth from the work area to supply, around unneeded equipment or perform redundant motions that can be eliminated to speed up a process. This can be one of the most frustrating wastes for workers and management. The lost time and production rob most processes of opportunities to function efficiently and make the employees work harder. While most processes are not designed to have motion wastes in them, it is one of the first wastes to creep in and cause disruption.

LOOK FOR excessive walking, moving or handling.

REDUCE BY developing and then examining a spaghetti diagram and Current State and Future State Value Stream Map (VSM) of every process to fully understand operator, equipment or material movement. Implement a Standard Work Practices program and develop an Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) record.

A Spaghetti diagram is a simple visual tool to demonstrate the flow of material, flow of information, and flow of money in a process, and is used to expose waste AND opportunity. The word “spaghetti” is descriptive because it describes flow that is not easily understood, cannot easily be followed, or if the flow is literally all over the place. It represents a point of departure, that is, what does the current state look like and what are the exact improvements needed to be made. Put another way, a spaghetti diagram is a visual representation of how bad things really are. Sometimes, through, poor thinking and poor choices, they are not just representations of how things are, but they can be representations of what we have created; sometimes we turn our processes into spaghetti diagrams. Remember, the spaghetti diagram process is not just completing a diagram but using it to fuel decisions that will improve the workplace. Ensure that operators are involved in the activity. In the results, look for large distances and repetitive movements; consider why they are made and what can be done to improve. Optimizing the workplace can only be carried out when its weak points are known.

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is documenting an overhead view of a process that looks all the way from the finished product back through a process to the raw materials or request for action (information) which is where most processes start. VSM can help to clearly understand and communicate all of the steps in a process and also allows you to identify those hidden wastes that exist within a process. From the raw materials storage to delivery of a finished product or service, materials flow throughout a process and are handled many people and machines. Information also flows all the way from initial request for a product or service through to the customer reception of the product or service. Historically, most flow charting or mapping processes did not include this crucial element called information flow. VSM not only includes information flow, but also shows how it is intertwined with material flow, machines and manpower.

Standardized Work Practices allow process steps to be decomposed and optimized into simple easy to follow steps that any operator can easily perform. Standardized practices allow operators and workers to perform tasks the same way each time by combining and using all resources effectively such as time, technology, tools on shadow boards and raw materials. By breaking down any process into clearly defined tasks, one can achieve consistency and increase throughput and OEE. These standard tasks or sequence of tasks should be well measured and documented into Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and simpler tasks or standards developed into one point lessons, which form the basis for training new operators in performing a task and as a performance and quality measurement tool.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is a method of measuring productivity performance. More specifically, it is a statistical metric to determine how efficiently a machine is running. The four bits of information required to calculate OEE are total staff time and the machine’s efficiency, quality and availability. The result is the value that a machine contributes to the production process. OEE is a globally recognized best practice measure to systematically improve processes for higher efficiencies and better productivity, ultimately leading to lower manufacturing costs and higher profitability. It is frequently used as a key metric in a Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) program.

Are Motion Wastes walking away with your customer’s and your company’s profits?

Watch for upcoming articles on Lean Manufacturing and the remaining Hidden Wastes of DOWNTIME…


September 10, 2012 at 8:49 am 5 comments

Lean Manufacturing: Eliminating the 8 Hidden Wastes – Part 5 of 8. The T in DOWNTIME


Transportation waste occurs when people, product, equipment or information are moved more often or further than needed. During multi-step processes, materials and people are moved from process to process that are separated by distance and/or time. Instead of processes being sequential or positioned next to each other, they are far apart and require forklifts, conveyors or other moving devices to be re-positioned for the next step in a process. All of these movements add no value to the process or product.

LOOK FOR the movement of people, materials or information that does not add value to a process.

REDUCE BY minimizing the physical distances the materials, equipment and/or manpower travel with zoning, cellular layouts, value stream mapping, and sequencing.

Zoning is a technique of identifying the boundaries of a particular work center. Everything has a marked home and there is no excess work-in-process storage. When Just-in-Time (JIT) is fully implemented, equipment and personnel are optimized in new layouts. Techniques like frontal loading, retrieval and ergonomically correct work centers are implemented. Place supply and removal paths at least 1 meter away from the back of workers and make the paths at least 2 meters wide to reduce potential accidents. Some organizations establish parts “super markets” to locate materials near to where they will be needed and operators will “pull” materials into their work center, versus having work “pushed” to them.

A Cellular Layout should provide all of the equipment, tools, work instructions and materials to accomplish a single task or group of related tasks. It does not matter if the cell shape is a T, I, L, U or V, although the U is the most common. The best shape is the one that produces the most efficient productivity in a safe manner. Most people are right handed, so the most ergonomically correct flow of parts or objects in a cellular layout is counter-clock wise. Arrange production cells to minimize the stretching and reaching for parts, supplies or tools and to accomplish tasks. Place the height of the work surface based on the type of work to be done and the weight of the materials to be moved. Observe and talk to workers doing the task before determining the final layout.

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is documenting an overhead view of a process that looks all the way from the finished product back through a process to the raw materials or request for action (information) which is where most processes start. VSM can help to clearly understand and communicate all of the steps in a process and also allows you to identify those hidden wastes that exist within a process. From the raw materials storage to delivery of a finished product or service, materials flow throughout a process and are handled many people and machines. Information also flows all the way from initial request for a product or service through to the customer reception of the product or service. Historically, most flow charting or mapping processes did not include this crucial element called information flow. VSM not only includes information flow, but also shows how it is intertwined with the flow of materials, machines and manpower.

Sequencing is a JIT technique which was revolutionized the Toyota Production System in which they scheduled their automobile manufacturing for mixed model production. Their implementation of Lean techniques allows them to effectively produce the correct model of automobile with variations needed to meet the changing customer demands. Similar models that require different parts are scheduled for production with the right parts delivered to the production line just-in-time. These techniques can be applied to any production line that produces similar items and knows the frequency of their customer demands. There is no need to tell customers that they have to wait until you complete a long production run of one type of product before you can produce a similar one. Operations that are process-focused versus function-focused, with smaller machines and well trained operators are usually flexible enough to use sequencing. In today’s market, customers do not want to wait for their product while your competition is producing goods when the customer wants it.

Is transportation waste creating bottlenecks and roadblocks that are hindering the financial success of your customers and your company?

Watch for upcoming articles on Lean Manufacturing and the remaining Hidden Wastes of DOWNTIME…

August 15, 2012 at 4:37 pm 2 comments


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