According to the Lean manufacturing methodology, waste is the root of all unprofitable activity within an organization. There are seven categories of waste within Lean:
Reducing waste is a top priority for most organizations because it has a direct impact on the bottom line, but this is often easier said than done.
Identify the Core Problem
Some forms of waste may be easy to identify, while other types may require some deep digging to root out. Working with a reputable consultant with domain expertise and a proven track record in your particular industry is an invaluable resource. Sometimes “outside eyes” are necessary to see challenges that others within an organization may not see because they are too close to the problem or may be emotionally or politically attached to the issue causing waste.
Once the core issue has been identified, engineering a solution can begin. Depending on your unique circumstance, a solution may involve one or all the following elements:
- Process improvements
- Human input
- Machine configurations
Crafting quality software that works is what we do best at Level 12. As a result, the remainder of this article is going to focus on how software can help you reduce waste.
If you need help identifying waste or have other specific manufacturing challenges, we work closely with manufacturing consultants to provide our clients with a complete solution.
Leverage the Power of Software Created for Your Unique Processes
A primary way to reduce waste is quality software that is designed to meet your organization’s business model and workflow. This may be accomplished with an optimized ERP, MRP, or other industry specific application. Software that is done right will reduce wastes in three key areas:
The Internet of Things (IoT) has given manufacturers and other industries unique capabilities to create smart organizations where almost every element of production and operations are connected. This allows organizations the ability to create an efficient, interconnected work environment with a microservice architecture that allows multiple systems and applications to act as one.
Automation and Data Accuracy
Manual data entry errors are a significant source of waste in many organizations. The waste occurs not only in the errors that may result from incorrect keystrokes but also from the time required for a human to input data that a software application may be able to do in a fraction of the time. The right software solution can save time and error-proof step in your process, which reduces defects and rework.
The net result of an integrated platform and quality data is better business intelligence. Effective business decisions can be made when leadership teams have the right data, in the right format, when they need it.
There has been a resurgence in US based manufacturing over the past few months. In fact, Louisville was named the top manufacturing region in the United States. As a result, many manufacturing organizations are taking a closer look at their operations to reduce waste and improve efficiency as more competitors are entering the market.
Now is a great time to assess your workflows and business model to identify and reduce areas of waste. We created a checklist to help you find waste in your organization.