Waste is a typical byproduct that many, if not all, manufacturers deal with. However, this is unideal because it can greatly impact the profitability and sustainability of a business. Reducing waste is not just about improving your bottom line. Instead, it’s also about ensuring your business thrives, enhancing product quality, and improving customer satisfaction. Therefore, it is important that manufacturers understand and take the necessary steps to identify and minimize waste in their operations. In today’s blog, we talk about what manufacturing waste is and discuss fours ways you can reduce daily manufacturing waste in your operations. 

What is Manufacturing Waste?

Traditionally, manufacturing waste is referred to as any unused or discarded materials or resources in a manufacturing process. For example, excess raw materials, scrap materials, broken or defective materials, and the energy or water used to produce goods and services. However, with the introduction of lean manufacturing, the definition and identification of manufacturing waste has changed significantly. In lean manufacturing, waste is considered to be anything that doesn’t add value to a product. In essence, it is anything that a customer wouldn’t be willing to pay for. 

According to the lean manufacturing philosophy, there are seven specific types of waste (or muda, as they are referred to in the Toyota 3M Model), also known as the “7 wastes of lean manufacturing,” that are commonly found in manufacturing processes. They are:

  1. 1. Overproduction
  2. 2. Inventory
  3. 3. Defects
  4. 4. Motion
  5. 5. Over-processing
  6. 6. Waiting
  7. 7. Transport

4 Ways to Reduce Daily Manufacturing Waste

Regardless of your manufacturing sector, whether it’s automotive or food and beverage, here are four ways to reduce daily manufacturing waste:

4 Ways to Reduce Daily Manufacturing Waste
1. Perform waste audits

One of the things you can do to reduce daily manufacturing waste is to perform a waste audit. Doing so allows you to analyze your waste streams and provides you with valuable insights so that you can find different ways to reduce waste. For instance, by performing a waste audit that has a focus on equipment usage, it is likely you’ll be able to identify increased wear on parts that are prone to breaking down. As a result, you can schedule planned downtime to have those parts replaced, reducing waiting costs. 

Although you can perform a waste audit yourself, it is recommended that it be performed by a reputable waste management company. This is because with their expertise, they’ll be able to effectively and thoroughly examine your current processes and help uncover additional opportunities to reduce your waste costs. 

2. Focus on root causes

Most of the time, you may not know what’s causing waste so it’s impossible to know how to reduce or eliminate it. So, another effective thing you can do to reduce daily manufacturing waste is to determine the root cause(s) of why you have waste. To perform an effective root cause analysis, it is recommended that you use simple problem solving tools like the 5 Whys Analysis or Fishbone Diagram to determine possible casual factors. Once that’s done, only then can you determine the root cause(s) of the problem identified, and find and implement solutions so that these wastes don’t reoccur. 

3. Engage your workforce

As with any continuous improvement practice, employees are key players in identifying problems and recommending solutions. After all, no one knows your frontline operations more than your frontline employees. So, it is recommended that you engage your workforce to help reduce daily manufacturing waste. However, unfortunately in most factories, employees do not have the right tools to help identify waste and solutions to eliminate them. This is where an idea management system like the LeanSuite’s Suggestion Platform can be helpful. You can collect, manage, prioritize and implement suggestions for waste improvement opportunities in real-time and in one central place. 

4. Optimize your shop floor

Many manufacturers are still reliant on manual processes and it’s hurting their operational efficiency. If that’s you and you want to reduce daily manufacturing waste, you need to optimize your shop floor by transitioning to paperless manufacturing. Instead of using paper-based processes and excel spreadsheets for the majority of your processes, leverage something like a lean manufacturing software. It is typically an end-to-end platform that automates and digitizes an entire manufacturing process, helping you to:

  • —  Identify waste and improvement opportunities, and then execute projects that contribute to it
  • — Effectively and quickly communicate on the shop floor to unlock value and further prevent waste 
  • — Improve the accuracy and speed of data collection
  • — Drive cost savings and stay competitive in an increasingly digital business landscape

Master Waste Management with the LeanSuite

One way to make sure your business runs as efficiently as possible while keeping waste minimal is by implementing a lean manufacturing software. The LeanSuite’s end-to-end lean manufacturing software and its app-based solutions equips you with all the tools you need to measure and effectively reduce daily manufacturing waste. As a result, this allows your operations to run at maximum efficiency. With solutions like the Suggestion Platform, Continuous Improvement System, Issue Tracker, and CILR Management System, you can:

  • — Collect suggestions for improvement opportunities
  • — Launch improvement projects
  • — Uncover hidden losses
  • — Proactively schedule maintenance activities
  • — And so much more.