Lean Manufacturing: Minimizing Wasted Motion and Waiting

posted on: Friday September 9, 2016

In manufacturing, the need to be leaner than your competition is an ongoing race to produce more Xpress Singledrevaproduct by using less people resources. Lean is a very broad subject that branches off into many subsets that define ways to identify and address opportunities for improvement. One of the basic roadmaps of this model is the 8 Wastes of Lean.

Depending on the resource, these 8 wastes are defined either by the acronym DOWNTIME or TIM WOODS, and basically include:

Transport

Inventory

Motion

Waiting

Overproduction

Over-processing

Defects

Skills

We have an article that goes into better detail about the 8 Wastes of Lean here.

Given the size, setup, and equipment typical of so many facilities today, waiting and motion are two significant wastes in manufacturing. This is especially true for sites that use forklifts.

Forklifts are fairly limited in how much they can move at one time. A lot of motion is wasted when you rely on one to get a considerable amount of parts or goods from one place to another. If a forklift has to go back and forth between work cells, it uses unnecessary motion as well. For this giant piece of equipment to travel back and forth throughout a facility is actually wasteful of much more than time and motion, but those two are the most prominent.

The time it takes a forklift to get a job done is only half of the picture when looking at wasted time. The equipment is often controlled by shipping and receiving, so it needs to be called by production to move a load. This can be a long wait – if it’s up to a half hour, that’s a substantial amount of time to waste waiting for the equipment you need. Add on top of that the time and motion required by the operator to locate and return the lift truck. After all, not just anyone can drive and use a forklift.

If you mapped out your forklift use, you will probably find a colossal waste of time and motion. The question is: how do you eliminate that waste?

The most efficient solution is to replace the equipment with a tug and cart system. Battery powered tuggers, like Load Movers, are easy to implement, simple to operate, and make a huge impact on productivity. They truly minimize wasted time and motion caused by forklifts and other factors.

For example, a Load Mover can be placed at the work cell(s) and put into action exactly when needed. One tug can travel from cell to cell as product moves down a line, or, depending on your setup, many cells can be equipped with a Load Mover to keep product on pace. There is no waiting for equipment or a certified operator to drive it.

Additionally, carts are designed to hook together. One tug can pull several carts at once, thereby exponentially increasing the amount that can be moved in one load. This cuts back on time and motion, but it also cuts back on manpower and labor.

Perform an analysis on your wastes and see just how much time and motion your forklifts are costing you. If you’re ready to improve your productivity, talk to Load Mover Inc about where a power tug would benefit you most. Call 952-767-1720 or email info@loadmoverinc.com.