Seven Wastes – Transportation

Today’s Guest Blog Author: Kris Chapman is the Vision Lean Manager at Trilogiq USA. Kris has 15 years experience in helping manufacturing facilities implement Lean Manufacturing principles.

Transportation-300x300In the world of manufacturing, there are many opportunities for waste. Waste with material, people, and machines that negatively affect the company’s bottom line. The waste continues without notice, typically because of other focus areas, such as new product launches or critical quality concerns that tap all available resources. Breaking these issues down into seven areas can make them easier to identify and address. The seven common wastes are transportation, inventory, movement, waste, over production, over processing, and defects (TIM WOOD). The TIM WOOD acronym is commonly used in manufacturing when describing wastes. Each week, this blog series will take a deep dive into one of the seven wastes to help you identify if it is an issue in your facility.

Let’s begin with T – Transportation.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I see fork trucks with empty forks cruising around the facility?
  2. Do I see a fork truck with a single box or parts on the forks?
  3. Do I see tuggers cruising around the facility without a train?
  4. Do I see a line shutdown waiting on a fork truck?

If you have answered yes to one or all of these questions, you have what the lean world refers to as Transportation Muda. Measuring Transportation Muda can be difficult because it is normal activity and appears standard. This makes it very difficult to resolve. Drawing a spaghetti diagram using multiple colors provides a great visual and highlights the intersections, empty forks, and redundant travel, and provides an opportunity for improvement. The goal of a spaghetti diagram is to show the problem and then create a shortened route, eliminating the overlapping.

Another tool that can be used to measure the time to complete the tasks is a time observation worksheet. Waste observations and inventory counts can also be used to show the waste and how it affects the transportation around a facility.

Doing something as simple as implementing a small warehouse solution and developing delivery routes can lead to $170k in annual savings.