7 Ways We Attack Waste

Some folks wonder how product and marketing fulfillment got together. Operationally both rely on fast, efficient distribution processes for success. Each require minimizing what lean manufacturing, a decades old production optimization methodology, calls “the seven wastes:”

1. Over production

2. Over processing

3. Transportation

4. Motion

5. Inventory

6. Waiting

7. Scrap and defects

A simple example of waste reduction is print production. We have clients who initially send us print materials for distribution to customers. They quickly learn why it’s better to us for print these materials in order to minimize waste and maximize their return on investment:

Overproduction:  we estimate demand based on previous usage data combined with continuous inventory counts to determine production levels.

Over Processing: when we print your materials, we eliminate packing, unpacking and counting inventory shipments.

Transportation: when we print, we eliminate print material transportation costs.

Motion: when we print, we eliminate steps involved in packing and unpacking.

Storage: since we don’t overproduce, we keep inventory levels and related costs to the minimum required to meet near-term demand.

Waiting: when we print, we’re never waiting for product to show up.

Scraps and defects: with fewer steps we end up with fewer defects.

With products and kit assembly, we continuously seek to eliminate waste from the factory to our facilities to the field or the end customer. Lean management works. We couldn’t run our business without it.

According to Dwight Bowen, an expert in lean management, “The team’s job is to understand and then notice existing waste. This can be difficult as it’s often ‘normal.’ We work to continuously identify and then implement a new, improved normal.”

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