Zero Waste: Identifying and Eliminating Waste in Business Processes

Examining existing processes & pinpointing areas where waste is a problem is key for businesses looking to reduce & eliminate waste from their operations.

Zero Waste: Identifying and Eliminating Waste in Business Processes

Examining existing processes and pinpointing areas where waste is a problem is the best way to start. You can compare purchases of materials and components with production, analyze waste, and check if there is more inventory than necessary or if there is overmanagement of inventory items. Ambujakshan recommends a 15- to 20-minute walk around Gemba every day, although this may vary depending on the size of the facility. As efficiency issues are corrected, the frequency and duration may decrease. Environmentalists and other environmentally conscious people often talk about the goal of zero waste.

But, of course, this is also an outstanding goal for companies. Reducing waste is the basis of Lean business methodology. The purpose of Lean is to spend more time creating value for customers by reducing or eliminating everything that doesn't produce value (also known as waste). Value can take the form of finished products, services, or information. To facilitate the identification of waste in business processes, Lean professionals focus on eight specific types of waste.

While the Lean approach originated in manufacturing, it is used in almost every industry. Surprisingly, the eight wastes are common in all industries, such as software development, construction, healthcare and education. Although it's not as obvious as it might seem in a factory, the set of tasks and activities that are performed in any industry creates a production process that ultimately provides value to the customer. While some of the residues are self-explanatory, others are more difficult to recognize. This publication aims to help by giving some examples of each type of waste in several companies.

We hope that they will help you think about how waste can be produced in your operations and how to start designing processes that minimize it. Of course, the people who are most likely to find and correct waste are the operators of the process, so it's a good idea to share these examples with them and offer each employee a way to present opportunities for improvement. Delivery times are the gaps between the steps of a process or the amount of time it takes to complete a series of tasks. Delivery times are one of the main areas of waste within a company that can and should be controlled by improving processes. Process mapping is an efficient waste disposal tool that helps define an optimized workflow that can eliminate excessive processing. As a key method in lean production, process mapping is not limited to the performance of production tasks.

It also includes reporting, signing and document control. You may find that it doesn't make financial sense to solve minor waste problems; for example, if one product in 1,000 is defective, it may not be worth the cost of upgrading it to one in 10,000. The term “waste of movement” refers to any unnecessary step or movement in production processes that does not provide any value. By identifying waste, you also discover opportunities for improvement and move closer to becoming a more efficient and profitable organization. However, identifying waste in production processes is just the starting point and basis for planning process improvements. Therefore, an essential step in creating agile business processes is to eliminate useless activities that consume time and resources but don't provide any value for you or your customer. It's almost impossible to eliminate all waste, but if you set a goal of zero waste you can reduce it to a minimum. One way to maximize the use of human potential within an organization is to recognize and reward employees who participate in the improvement and reduction of waste.

A classic example of loss of movement is the time spent walking around the farm to locate supplies or equipment to complete a simple task. Continuous improvement software can significantly affect organizations that are serious about finding and eliminating waste in all its forms. Eliminating the 8 wastes of lean manufacturing is much easier when the production process is fully visible, and MachineMetrics offers that transparency.