Your In-depth Guide to Reducing Electronics Manufacturing Waste


Reading time ( words)

2. Set in order. Make the space works for you and the team using it by ensuring important materials are nearby. Using visual reminders – i.e. shadow boards or representations – can be a great way to ensure unity and streamline workflow.

3. Shine. A clean work station or production line is vital in eliminating the risk of cross contamination. Starting with a clean area can help you identify sources of contamination with ease and lead to resolutions of the underlying problem at the root cause.

4. Creating standardized workflows with assigned tasks and schedules can aid in ensuring everyone is aware of their responsibilities. This means you have more time to concentrate on your businesses priorities.

5. For optimum results, 5S should be adopted as a long-term company-wide strategy. Regular meetings and analysis of results, alongside training and team engagement, are crucial in ensuring that the desired results are obtained so that waste can be minimized long-term.

Spaghetti diagrams

A spaghetti diagram uses a visual representation of a current process through a continuous flow line tracing the path of an item or activity. The intention is to highlight where problems, delays or general wasteful issues arise. Arguably, some of the most important features a spaghetti diagram can highlight are over lapping in route and wait time. These are two common and expensive types of waste that can often be rectified by changing the location of an item or the order in which a task is completed.

Process mapping

Process mapping is a business workflow diagram that aims to disclose a clearer understanding of a process (or series of parallel processes) by outlining the steps involved, the owners of responsibility and time frames. Process maps were designed to help harvest process improvement, by allowing the developers the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the limitations their current process could incur. This technique, due to its graphical and visual form, is a great way of understanding how your current manufacturing processes could be adding waste to your operation and aids you in reducing this by making small changes.  

A Culture of Continuous Improvement

Understandably, one person cannot be expected to identify every single waste "opportunity" within a manufacturing facility. However, by increasing staff engagement and creating a culture of continuous improvement across your business, you should find you are alerted to issues quickly and efficiently. And, more importantly, before they start to drain precious resources in non-value adding activities.

Creating a culture of continuous improvement takes time and sustained effort and, most importantly, has to be sponsored at board level. If the management team haven't bought into the concept then it's highly unlikely that those at the coal face will either. If you're struggling to engage your work force then you may find that offering small "incentives" for process improvement suggestions (certificates, leaderboards, lunch vouchers, gift cards, etc.) may be a useful way of kick starting the initiative. They can also be a great way of boosting morale and ensuring that your team feel valued for their contribution to the company.

So, now you are aware of the tools and techniques to help identify, measure and reduce the amount of waste in your business. The important thing now is to ensure your manufacturing processes stay fluid. Stagnant processes are a key factor when it comes to waste, so we recommend that you regularly analyze your performance levels using a combination of the tools highlighted in this guide.

This article originally appeared on the JJS Manufacturing blog, which can be found here.

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