Reduce Waste in Lean Manufacturing to See Productivity and Efficiency Soar
These days, manufacturers are hard pressed to find new ways to streamline manufacturing processes. New solutions are showing up all the time, but they are often expensive and complicated to implement. Industry 4.0 is sweeping the manufacturing industry with its focus on automation, so it’s easy to overlook one of the simplest, most effective methods for improving operational efficiency: eliminating waste in lean manufacturing. And one of the fastest ways to eliminate waste is to deploy workbench and assembly carts that power tools right at the point of task.
What is Waste in Lean Manufacturing?
Waste in lean manufacturing comes in many forms, and it often helps to have someone who specializes in lean manufacturing operations help you evaluate where there is room for improvement. Lean manufacturing generally refers to the Lean Six Sigma approach, which removes waste and reduces variation to create a more robust, streamlined manufacturing process.
With lean manufacturing, you don’t need to make the costly, cumbersome shift to automation in order to start seeing less downtime and more productivity. Simply bringing work to the point of task can drastically improve efficiency and reduce the kind of waste that is costing your business time and money.
There are seven original types of waste in lean manufacturing:
Industrial mobile computer carts are designed to address all seven types of waste, but this post will focus on four of the biggest drains on revenue: Motion, Transportation, Waiting, and Defects.
Protecting Revenue and Your Workforce: Reducing Motion Waste
Motion waste can include everything from taking more steps than necessary to get from one fixed workstation to another, to unnecessary repetitive motions like bending down or stretching up. These nonessential movements cost time and money without contributing to the value of what is being produced, and it also contributes to worker injuries.
Reducing motion waste in lean manufacturing is as simple as keeping more tasks on the line or closer to the line with mobile workstations that support QC testing and assembly. A battery-powered industrial computer workstation powers all your tools right where you need them, eliminating movement back and forth between fixed task sites. This can shave seconds off each of your operations processes, and it may help to prevent some repetitive motion injuries as well.
Protecting Your Product: Reduce Transportation Waste
Transportation waste occurs when products are shifted around unnecessarily—moving finished or unfinished products from one station to another before the next task can be completed leads to excessive handling and movement. This waste is compounded when items need to be placed in inventory before they are moved or while they are on hold for the next step. Additionally, transportation waste can devalue or damage products, costing manufacturers time, money, and materials.
This is another type of waste in lean manufacturing that can be drastically reduced by having a mobile workstation that supports QC testing and assembly at the point of task. Rather than moving products in and out of inventory to transport them, small off-line assembly tasks and in-process QC can be performed right on the line for a more streamlined manufacturing process.
Avoid Bottlenecks: Reduce Downtime and Waiting at Multiple Task Points
Waiting waste in lean manufacturing refers to products or WIP items while they are not being processed. Many processes require that parts be moved from one location to another or that they be inspected before they can move on to the next step. Often, the production line runs for longer hours than the QC department, causing a bottleneck and downtime while waiting for this step to be completed. The time that is lost to the production line can never be recovered.
A mobile workbench and assembly cart with uninterruptible power never stops. In addition, the right mobile workbench and assembly cart come with hot-swappable batteries, so you never have to shut down operations to recharge, reducing downtime and increasing productivity.
Avoid Costly Manufacturing Errors: Reduce Defects
Defects can be among the most costly types of waste in lean manufacturing. Rework and scrap make up a significant portion of the cost to manufacturers due to the expense that has already gone into production and the corrective measures necessary to correct said defects.
Motion, transportation, and waiting for waste feed into defect waste by leaving room for errors and increasing the risk for damage. This is why workbench and assembly carts with enough power to support all your tools at the point of task may be one of the most valuable assets you can add to your line.
Streamline Manufacturing Processes and Untether Your Workers for a Simple Solution to Productivity
Improving operational efficiency and reducing downtime is among the most effective things you can do to increase your productivity on the line. A workbench and assembly cart from DTG does just that by expanding the workspace, freeing workers to complete tasks on the line, and powering equipment and tools without interruption.
To see how our Workbench and Assembly PowerStations streamline manufacturing and optimize productivity, contact us today!