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How Businesses Can Reduce Waste in Their Manufacturing Processes

Every manufacturing process produces waste in one form or another. Sometimes business owners do not pay attention to the types and amounts of waste produced, and this waste can end up costing the business a significant amount of money. Waste can be produced through defects, inventory management, overproduction, transportation, unnecessary refinement, unused time and waiting time. To help reduce waste, keep costs low and make the most use of the finite resources you have as a business owner, here are some things you can do.

Set Waste-reduction Goals

Before you start looking into reducing wastage in your manufacturing processes, you need to understand what that wastage looks like for your business, and how you can reduce it. You can do audits to find out where wastage is likely to occur and then set the maximum allowed level of waste in those processes. 

Ensure Efficient Inventory Management

There is no viable way for a business to avoid inventory management and the costs associated with it. Some businesses receive the cost of inventory management by using just-in-time manufacturing strategies, because they still have to store and handle some inventory, no matter how small.

Just-in-time manufacturing helps businesses reduce the amount of raw material they hold as well as the amount of hazardous material they store. The manufacturing process sometimes uses these hazardous materials, and they have to be handled with care so that they do not end up costing a business in cleanup costs and environmental taxes.

Using this strategy, businesses also only produce what they know they are going to sell. This means they have very little stock in their warehouses at any one time and this reduces warehousing costs.

Reduce Changeover Time

Changeover in manufacturing is the amount of time it takes to convert a line or manufacturing plant from producing one type of product to producing another. It is typically measured as the amount of time between when the last good product left the production line and when the first good part of the next batch or type of product is produced.

Changeover can take a few minutes in industries where there is no intricate retooling, and weeks in industries where there is expensive retooling before the next type of product can be produced. A great example is in the automotive industry, where the robotics and other parts of the manufacturing line have to be retooled before the next model can be assembled.

Changeover leads to a wastage of time, money, and manpower. Money is lost when the manufacturing plant sits idle while being prepared for the next line of products. Manpower is also lost for the same reason.

Reducing change over time can help reduce wattage in the manufacturing process while also improving productivity and output. Many businesses are now using different technologies to reduce change over time. For industries where dies are used for engraving, cutting or in other ways, using die quick change and lock-up technology can help reduce loss of productivity. Businesses that want their manufacturing processes to be lean and agile benefit the most from this Lockup technology.

Streamline Your Packaging Methods

Many manufacturing processes end up with products packaged in one way or the other. There are two ways the packaging process can introduce waste: if material is wasted when sizing the material for the packaging and using too much material when packing products.

In many cases, businesses have to determine how much material will be needed for a batch of products. If this material is sized incorrectly, there could be too much or too little of it, and so some of it will have to be wasted. This also happens when packaging individual or batch products. Businesses have to streamline their packaging processes to ensure they use the least amount of material possible. They can also use recyclable materials as well as materials that provide a lot of cushioning to use even fewer packaging materials. Shipping products in bulk also helps reduce packaging material wastage.

Reducing Overproduction Wastage

Overproduction leads to wastage in various ways, the most notable one being increased inventory costs and time wasted waiting for the larger batch of products to sell or ship. Overproduction waste can be caused by poor management, oversized production batches, poor relationship with suppliers and distributors as well as long lead times.

Just-in-time manufacturing can help solve this issue, but many businesses follow the just-in-case philosophy, which leads to the inventory management issues we discussed above as well as overproduction wastage.

Wastage in manufacturing and related processes is something many businesses cannot afford as the cost of doing business and materials keeps increasing. Finding ways to reduce its wastage will not only save the business money, but it can also help streamline different processes for the best results.

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