Walking to Eliminate Waste

When running a successful business, it is important to continuously work on process improvements. This is where Lean manufacturing can help. At the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center), we offer free Waste Walks to gather information about the work process, the work areas and any instances of observed waste.
When I visit manufacturers for a waste walk, I am focused on identifying the eight types of waste that exist in all organizations. The types of wastes include Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Non-utilized Talent, Transportation, Inventory, Motion and Extra Processing, which make up the acronym DOWNTIME. Let me take you through the waste walk steps as if I were coming to your facility.
  • I meet with the leadership team.
    • This enables me to get to know the company and hear from managers about current processes and workflow.
  • I tour the facility.
    • I like to walk through the entire process, starting with receiving through shipping. During the tour, I talk with operators and technicians to better understand their process and get their view on things.
  • I look for waste.
    • As I walk through the organization, I will be looking to identify different types of waste. This may require more than one walk-through as I gather data for my report.
We typically spend four hours in a facility, which allows us to get a good view of your company and see your teams at work. When the Waste Walk is complete, I will review my discoveries and generate a report. This report will include findings and recommendations for how to eliminate waste to improve processes.
Utilizing the report, our hope is that you will take The Center’s waste elimination recommendations and create an action register with assigned timelines and project owners. Once the action item list is in place and your team understands what must be done, it should be publicized in a location where it can be seen every day. This will give your team ownership and pride when they see items checked off and improvements made. It also will serve as a reminder of the goals everyone is working towards together.
Are you ready to get your business Lean and waste-free? The Center is here to help guide you through the process. Schedule your free Waste Walk here. To learn more visit this link.
MEET OUR EXPERT: Mike Beels, Lean Program Manager
Beels_M2-web.jpgMike Beels has served in the role of Lean Program Manager for the Lean Business Solutions Team at The Center for more than 16 years. Mike’s areas of expertise include Change Leadership, Workforce Engagement and Succession Planning, as well as the entire portfolio of Lean strategies and methodologies. He is a professional trainer and can command an audience and deliver the training message in a way that participants can understand in a clear, non-threatening manner. Mike always leaves trainees excited and ready to complete training transfer to the shop floor or office. 
Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.

Categories: Continuous Improvement, Lean Principles