In Japan, manufacturing waste is referred to as “mura,” which means useless. In the United States, manufacturers use the mnemonic TIMWOOD to describe waste. No matter what you call it, waste costs manufacturers money, and this expense is often passed on to consumers through pricing. When you look at TIMWOOD in detail, you see quickly there are ways to prevent waste and its related cost.
- T is for Transportation. Product must be moved to and from the line as quickly as possible. Any delays in movement stagnates the line. Inefficient plant layout and overproduction are two primary causes for delay, and no manufacturer can afford gridlock on the forklift highway. How can a plant manager tell there is gridlock? By installing plant-wide surveillance systems to monitor traffic that’s how.
- I is for Inventory. Too much inventory takes up precious space and causes the gridlock discussed above. It behooves manufacturers to adopt what is called a “just in time” process, which means a product is manufactured to meet consumer demand when that demand is put forth. To make this work, labor must be streamlined as well to push requested product through.
- M is for Motion. If the production line isn’t efficient, ineffective motion also creates waste, which costs the manufacturer money. The production line should be worker-friendly, allowing the worker to perform his or her task with little motion and stress. If the worker has to reach too far or reorient a piece, he or she wastes motion and thereby wastes time.
- W is for Waiting. As excessive and unnecessary motion wastes time, so does unnecessary waiting. Waiting slows the manufacturing process now matter where in the line the downtime occurs. From moving product to the line, through the line, or to the shipping docks, if someone isn’t moving, the clock is ticking. Time is money in manufacturing. That’s the bottom line to this line.
- O is for Overproduction. As touched upon above, overproduction creates an ineffective transport and working space, which creates manufacturing waste. Two things cause overproduction: manufacturing it before it’s needed or manufacturing too much of it. If a manager sees that product is piling up, he or she can rethink the production schedule.
- O is also for Over-Processing. While effort to manufacture a product that meets safety and other standards is important, effort to paint something a customer won’t see is manufacturing waste. Over-processing a product, i.e. putting unnecessary work into it that isn’t required by law or the customer costs money. A surveillance system can help managers see if the production line crew over-processing.
- D is for Defects. Product defect isn’t the only cause of manufacturing waste. The time it takes to correct the defect also saps bottom line. Research must be conducted to determine why the defect occurs. Then, the problem must be solved. Many industry experts relate defects to icebergs. It’s what’s underneath that really cost the manufacturing plant money.
A surveillance system throughout the manufacturing plant allows managers to keep a constant eye on TIMWOOD during the entire process from start to finish. If the manager detects any TIMWOOD, he or she can address the issue immediately to streamline processes and save overhead.