8 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing (Part#3 of Big Fat Lean)

Today’s part covers various wastes of Lean Manufacturing. Lean considers 8 types of MUDA (waste) which need elimination, in most operations.

If you think of setting up a lean culture in your organisation, you have to work on reducing these 8 wastes. You might be already aware of some of this waste. Different authors coined the waste in different terms. As per my study, I found following terms of eight waste mostly used. I have explained 8 wastes with examples of the garment manufacturing industry.

1. Excess Motion 

Wasted motion has both human and machine element. This negatively affects productivity, quality and safety.

Human motion waste is observed most of the times when operators or/and line supervisors carry parts or panels from tray and hand it over to the next operator. This can be eliminated by placement of a tray appropriately where the operators, both preceding and successive can have easy access to.

Machine motion waste is observed during most sewing operations. For an example, during overlocking operation at the shoulders, overlocking at one shoulder side and machine is made to run till the other shoulder comes under operation and overlocked further. This action not only leads to machine motion waste but also human motion waste

2. Waiting

Occurs when worker waits for material to be delivered or employees stand around waiting for a machine or a part. Delays increase lead time. Some operations like marking and cutting (sleeve mark and cut for example) take real long time than sewing the panels. This leads to waiting for the subsequent operations, resulting in increase of lead time.

Lead Time = Processing time + Retention time or waiting time

3. Transportation 

Caused by inefficient workplace layout, overly large equipment. Conveyance is a necessary Muda, since obviously materials have to be moved through factory, but it should be minimized. Transportation of cuttings from cutting department to sewing department and sending stitched garment to finishing departments are kind of waste as per lean theory.

4. Correction (Defect)

Related to having to fix defective products. It comprises of material, time and energy costs. Some operations like gathering and flaring if not precisely done, like setting of SPI appropriately, demand a lot of correction. Fatigue also is a factor which results due to correction and contributes to costing.

5. Over-processing

Related to doing more than required by the customers.

6. Inventory

Keeping unnecessary raw materials, parts and WIP. A case of push system, Just-In-Case, as against Just-In-Time. This affects costing exponentially.

7. Over production

This is the root cause for other kinds of 'MUDA'. Related costs to this are -buildings and maintenance of large warehouses, extra workers and machines, parts, materials energy, oil, electricity, extra, forklift etc.

8. Knowledge disconnection

Disconnects inhibit the flow of knowledge, ideas and creativity, creating frustration and missed opportunities. Disconnects can be within a company, between companies and its customers and suppliers.

In most of the factories, executives do not pass on details and information to supervisors. Plans and schedules not discussed with the related or concerned person. This affects the work system and leads to lack of transparency and team spirit

Previous parts of Lean Manufacturing series:

Part#1: What is Lean Manufacturing Technology?

Part#2: Benefits of Lean Manufacturing

In the next post we will discuss 5S Systems.

This is a guest submission by Vijayalaxmi Meharwade.

About Vijayalaxmi Meharwade: Vijayalaxmi is a graduate (B.E.) in Textile and Master is Textile Technology (Garment Technology). She has 14 years of experience in research, and working in industry concerning textile and garment manufacturing. She has also worked as a teaching faculty. 

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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