Lean Manufacturing

There are many forms of waste that arise in complex processes of production. Not only will you send waste to the landfill, but you’ll also find waste in your water and electricity resources, as well as in every phase of the production line and in defective products. These are just a few of the wastes that necessitate the lean manufacturing philosophy that has become the norm throughout the industrial world, in which leaders aim to reduce all streams of waste throughout production.

When we think of waste, we typically think of garbage and yet in lean manufacturing models, actual landfill-bound waste isn’t part of the consideration. Should it be central to the lean manufacturing model? Reducing landfill waste does indeed save a company money in logistics and possibly purchasing, as well as other valuable resources that are being wasted.

What is Lean Manufacturing?

The concept of lean manufacturing is derived from the renowned Toyota Production System which was developed and widely adopted in the 1990s. The Toyota Production System focuses on seven wastes that, when reduced, will improve overall customer value. Since value is measured through the eyes of the customer, any action or service that a customer would be willing to pay for is considered valuable. This lean manufacturing model is what made a small Japanese car company into the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer, and all by focusing on the reduction of waste. In their seven waste streams, however, landfill waste is never mentioned, though in today’s market it is absolutely of value to a customer who wants to buy products from responsible companies.

Why Should Landfill Waste Be Included in Lean Manufacturing?

Landfill waste is an aspect of production where the lean manufacturing mentality can be applied to save money and improve productivity and therefore value. Not only do your customers desire products from companies who care about their impact on the environment, but the amount of landfill waste you produce directly correlates to other forms of waste that you are probably overlooking. When you have excess landfill waste, you will  find waste in  aspects of production like logistics, space usage, and downtime.

How Waste Can Lead to More Waste

When your landfill waste is piling up at unreasonable levels, it is often a symptom or cause of other forms of waste throughout your production where the principles of lean manufacturing are transformative. Motion is one of the seven wastes that is often associated with the movement of landfill waste throughout a manufacturing facility as waste cans need to be frequently emptied, or are in inconvenient places for certain employees. This movement can then lead to more waiting, which is another of the seven wastes, as employees might get lackadaisical in their movement throughout the facility resulting in lower production times.

Trash compactors are a great tool to help in reducing landfill waste and the other wastes associated with it throughout your facility. Not only do they reduce the size and therefore the frequency of waste removal trips, but they also reduce the movement associated with landfill waste. If you are considering waste management practices and how they coincide with your lean manufacturing model, call KenBay to find out how we can be of service.