Elimination of Waste in a Lean Manufacturing Environment
Many things can be done in a manufacturing enterprise in order to increase its performance. Special consideration should be given to the activities where the most benefit can be attained. The elimination of waste is the most important contributor to improvement in a lean manufacturing environment.
The efforts for the elimination of waste begin on the manufacturing floor and include all areas of the enterprise all the way up to management. The whole organization plays a part in the continuous efforts to eliminate waste. It is the responsibility of management to provide the proper training and tools so that all personnel can properly participate in these activities. Once the personnel is actively searching for and eliminating waste, proper care must be taken in order to not introduce new sources of waste into the system. One important aspect to consider in the elimination of waste is that waste must not be transferred to vendors, customers or another area within the enterprise. Vendors cannot be expected to bear the burden of improper methods of waste elimination without undesirable consequences and likely introduction of new wastes. The transfer of waste to the customer is a dangerous and undesirable proposition since they are the reason the manufacturing enterprise exists in the first place. Working closely with the customer leads to a better understanding of their requirements and improved mutually beneficial processes or methods can be implemented. This allows the elimination of additional waste where the original demands of the customer may have forced areas within the manufacturing enterprise to contain waste. In order to truly remove waste it must be eliminated from the system entirely and not simply transferred within the system (Goldratt, 2004). Waste exists in all areas of an organization. This is an important reason why successful efforts to eliminate it can have such a huge impact on the...
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