One way to improve, not only your process but also the quality of your end product, is by eliminating waste. In this new era, organizations and companies have to look for every opportunity to improve the quality of their services and/or products. Managers and employees need to search for ways to do things more efficiently while trying to increase the quality of the products they deliver.
Lean process improvement
Lean process improvement emphasizes not only the prevention of waste, but also the elimination of existing waste. So the primary goal of lean is to, reduce waste/total cost, and to improve quality. Lean process improvement is a continuous improvement system.
Waste? What is waste?
Waste is something that doesn’t add value to either your end-product or your process. Non-value added activities are called: MUDA. MUDA is a Japanese word for WASTE.
Normally companies with a high waste, include this waste in the cost of the product. The consequence is that customers have to pay a higher price for the products. Some companies choose to lower their profit margins, by not including the cost of waste, to stay competitive.
Removing and eliminating waste can benefit a company in many ways:
- Higher profits
- Better customer satisfaction
- Improvement in quality
- Staying in business
What are the key areas of waste?
By this, I mean the transportation of materials from one location to another. It doesn’t add value to the product. This procedure only costs money (Trucks, people).
Raw materials and finished products that stay on the shelves are also a type of waste. You invested in them, but they are still on your shelves. This requires space and increases the likelihood of damage to the product, most likely resulting in a poorer quality product.
Unnecessary motions cost you time, money, and increases stress on employees. Motion has little impact on quality, but it can have a negative effect on your employees.
Waiting is one of the bigger types of waste. We wait on other departments, we wait for deliveries (supplier), unnecessary meetings, uneven schedules, waiting for a machine to be repaired. We waste so much time WAITING. Waiting has little impact on quality of the product.
Adding additional steps in the process to control, reshape or adjust the product is WASTE. It costs time and MONEY.
This is the most serious type of waste: Overproduction. Making too much or too early leads to high levels of inventory: extra storage, extra raw materials, etc.
- Repair / Rejects
This type of waste is about your CUSTOMERS. Every defective item needs to either be repaired or replaced. This can result in loss of customers.
In the end, when you reduce and/or eliminate waste, it lowers your costs. Things are done more efficiently and the quality of your end product is higher, resulting in satisfied customers.
“The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.” –