There are normally seven traditional wastes identified in Lean thinking, namely – transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, overproduction, over-processing and defects. However, there are other wastes to look at that are non-traditional wastes in your supply chain and logistics functions.
Robert Trent of End-to-End Lean Management: A Guide to Complete Supply Chain Improvement has identified non-traditional wastes as the following:
Too many bits and bytes
In the theory, the digital age produces less paper. However technology advances create plenty data to go around. There needs to be understanding of the difference between data and useful information as the two are entirely different. It is possible to waste time going through useless information like emails, reports and analyses.
People will often be inclined to take the path with least resistance but that’s not usually the best route. Companies can establish a culture of Lean thinking which will consist of training, support and a motivational reward system. This type of culture will help creative skills develop and speed up the time in which these skills develop.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. When it comes to Lean, an organization’s supply chain function needs to be built in a way that it supports overall strategies ranging from responsive to low cost – each strategy having its own type of metrics.
Technology solutions have made it easy to gather measurements with innovations such as bar-code scanning and RFID. There needs to be measuring, comparing and benchmarking of the right things however through all of this. One way of standardized supply chain metrics is the Supply Chain Operations Resource model which consists of more than 150 individual measurements.
An inefficient supply chain has a financial impact that affects the bottom line. The cause of this can be unnecessarily high inventory levels to cover variability in a process or assets that are not used as they’re meant to be such as forklift trucks, private fleets and distribution centres.
Overdesign can cause waste of overprocessing. One way to cut back on overdesign is to come up with a Lean, collaborative product lifecycle management process that includes a product from it beginning stages to disposal of manufactured products. This strategy needs to also involve people, data, processes and business systems.
Duplication of effort
Sites or geographic locations that have duplicated effort are a sign of misunderstanding and unclear communication between each other’s processes. To visualize duplicated effort and to come up with solutions that leverage collaboration between organizations, Value Stream Mapping is usually the way to go.
There is too much reacting and not enough planning by a lot of companies. Having a solid sales and operations planning process at both the beginning and executive levels can assist organizations in shifting the balance towards planning while monitoring Lean performance metrics.
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