Waste should be avoided as far as possible in companies, especially if your goal is to make processes as efficient, economical, and lean as possible. The concept of avoiding waste originates from the Toyota Production System. The founder of the Toyota Production System Taiichi Ohno defined seven types of waste. He defines waste, or Muda (jpn. for waste), as a non-value adding, senseless activity. Waste is therefore understood to mean all processes that the customer is not prepared to pay for.
Identify waste types – Know your enemy
The acronym TIMWOOD helps you to remember the seven types of waste.
These types of waste must be identified and reduced or ideally eliminated.
Transport is a necessary but time-consuming task in companies. Therefore, transport routes should be designed as efficiently as possible. This can be an obstacle, especially for large companies. A high transport effort is not only a waste of time but also increases the probability of errors occurring. In addition to the obvious materials to be transported, such as goods, products or tools, data and information must also be taken into account. In the course of digitalization and the greater importance of knowledge work, the dissemination of information has become increasingly important for companies. This can impede or slow down processes if employees cannot find or have not received important information. Fast and reliable information and data processing are also necessary for customer traffic to survive in the market.
The inventory is a necessity for companies but also creates a potential for waste. For example, a large inventory of products is associated with high capital commitment, high storage costs, and costly transportation. Reducing inventories and establishing just-in-time production can reduce costs and effort without affecting production.
Nobody likes to wait, neither in private nor in professional situations. Long waiting times only cause inconvenience and cost nerves in private life. In professional life, the establishment of the most efficient processes and coordinated workflows is sufficient for the success of a company. In short: You should try to keep waiting times of customers, employees, and suppliers as short as possible. If an employee cannot do his work because he is waiting for goods, documents, or tasks, this time is lost and can only be caught up with difficulty or not at all. This is frustrating for everyone..
One type of waste is overproduction, i.e. the production of goods that exceeds demand. This can lead to different problems depending on the industry. For example, in the case of overproduction of perishable goods there is no way around disposing of the goods completely after a relatively short time. Regardless of the products, overproduction inevitably means greater transport costs, more unnecessary movement of employees, more stock, and longer waiting times for all companies. The overproduction of goods is therefore a waste on several levels.
The term over-processing refers to the waste on the product caused by the addition of properties that nobody uses. These properties do not add value, but they do increase the lead time of a product. Over-processing can have many facets, it can be duplication of work due to insufficient communication, but it can also be caused by unnecessarily complex processes and exceeding customer requirements. But it can also be reworking that was necessary to improve a faulty product.
Errors can have different effects on the company, depending on when they are discovered. Under certain circumstances, an error in the product can be corrected by reworking it, but this also costs time and effort. If the error is so serious that the product cannot be used or danger can arise from its use, there is often no alternative but to destroy it.
On our blog we have already dealt with the topic of errors in several posts. How you can achieve a zero-defect production, for example, you can read in this article. You can find articles on the subject of errors by searching for them on our blog or by clicking on the “Errors” Tag below the blog post.
How to prevent wastage
Depending on their extent, wastage can cause high costs, production interruptions, lack of occupational safety, or delays in delivery. However, they can be a great improvement potential for companies, especially if they are identified early and eliminated by process improvement. The only difficulty is to know the processes so precisely that an improvement potential can be identified at the first attempt. This is where qmBase and your employees can help you. With qmBase idea management, you allow your employees to actively improve the company.
Improve the company with the qmBase Apps
With the idea management software from qmBase, your employees can submit their ideas and suggestions for improvement in an uncomplicated manner from an Internet-capable device. The idea is automatically forwarded to the appropriate employee for review. After the improvement suggestion has been checked, measures can be initiated directly in the app projects and tasks if required. The appropriate measures that are necessary to implement the idea can be initiated directly in the app. In this way, you create more transparency about the interrelationships within your company.
In addition to idea management, there are other apps from qmBase that can help you avoid waste, for example the qmBase document management, which makes confusing document filing and incorrect references a thing of the past. You can also use document management to visualize and attractively present a complete process landscape.
The qmBase Wiki helps you to share and transport information and knowledge efficiently within your company. With the help of your employees, the app can be made the central place of knowledge in your company. Information is easy to find and reduces the research effort of your employees. Even if employees leave the company, your knowledge can still help the company.
If you would like to learn more about the apps from qmBase, click here to get an overview of the individual apps. If you would like to test the software for 14 days free of charge and try the apps of the qmBase software for yourself, then click here.
Hitoshi Takeda, 2014, The Synchronized Production System: Going Beyond Just-In-Time Through Kaizen
Alexander John, Renata Meran, Olin Roenpage, Christian Staudter, Carmen Beernaert, 2006, Six Sigma+Lean Toolset: Verbesserungsprojekte erfolgreich durchführen (German)
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