Waste elimination plays a significant role in the manufacturing environment. Manufacturing plants and warehouses have a tough time balancing inventory and materials needs with efficiency. Often the worry is that production will slow or, even worse, halt if materials or inventory dips. However, through basic mathematics and a few mindset changes, that worry can be laid to rest.

Inventory Management

There is such a thing as too much inventory and overproduction. Storage costs alone can eat into a company’s revenue. It’s vital that you closely and accurately track products both big and small. Big items may be easy to visually identify, but if you’re not tracking them properly with a system, then you’re not using your resources wisely. Tracking small items is just as critical. It can allow the rest of your workflow to carry on smoothly or bring things to a halt. The importance of inventory management while eliminating waste cannot be overlooked.

Take What You Need, Not What You Think You Need

The manufacturing environment is prime for motion waste. Not only does excess motion give rise to a ton of waste in many different ways, but it can also create a more dangerous work environment. The solution? Evaluate the workflow, and identify areas of unnecessary action. This can include nonphysical action as well, such as moving documents from person to person or sending unnecessary notification emails. Careful management and pulling only what you need is one of the principles of Kanban. Using this principle, you can make wiser decisions with your activity. Kanban practices can help you successfully identify and eliminate waste in any workflow.

Reuse and Recycle Items

If there are materials you can use again, sort the waste into different categories and use them again later instead of making more of the same material. If you can’t reuse your waste, try using an industrial shredder to reduce the volume of your waste. Then you can send it to an off-site recycling facility where it can be recycled and used somewhere else. This will help not only to eliminate waste, but it could also save on the costs of manufacturing new material by making it so you don’t have to make so much of it.   

Minimizing waste is an ongoing process and part of many people’s day-to-day duties. As you build up skills in various other areas, such as engineering, workflow management or an understanding of complex processes, they can be invaluable in your waste minimization abilities. Manufacturing, in particular, is concerned with these aspects of waste, so you can make meaningful changes.

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