The 8 Wastes of Lean: Part 1 – Transport

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Signet’s Continuous Improvement program is a key way of keeping business competitive. The organisation has learned through experts and experience about how to remove waste from the workplace, in line with recent international advancements in Lean thinking.

Waste has been identified as a major cost to businesses. Identifying the types of waste which can be reduced in your work space is an important first step. Signet has put together the top 5 tips on the first of the 8 Wastes of Lean: Transport.

1.Look beyond the trucks

Transport is often thought of as an external activity (for example, delivery trucks or container ships), but don’t forget about internal transport. Internal transport occurs every time an object is moved from one place to another. This could be moving packaging supplies around a warehouse, or collecting papers from a printer. Warehousing and production are the areas where transport is most likely to occur- but it may be surprising how much is occurring in other processes around the work site.

2.Understand the waste

Moving items from one place to another adds no value to the end product, or for customers. Identifying and removing transport wherever possible will make processes right across the workplace more efficient, and more cost effective. Signet uses a Process Mapping system to model tasks and fully understand the waste that is occurring.

3.Costs/ flow-on effects

Transport can lead on to other types of waste- waiting, movement, and damages can all occur as by-products of transport. Each of these comes with its own costs- so cutting down on transport will benefit other processes.

4.How to identify

The key way to identify transport waste is to run through a process step by step. Using an audit sheet to record observations can help evaluate where transport occurs throughout the process. You may be surprised at where you notice waste.

5.How to reduce

Once identified, steps can be taken to reduce transport:

  • Move processes closer together
  • Place raw materials at work sites
  • Move frequently used objects closer together (such as keeping packing materials close together)

When the waste is reduced, benefits including time savings (and associated costs), faster service and happier customers, improved safety and operational cost savings will be seen.

We’ll be bringing out guides to the other 8 Wastes each month, so keep an eye out for more ways you can improve your own Lean journey.

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