Avoid waste within production

Avoid waste within production

Time, raw materials, and end products: why waste them if you don’t have to? A digital tool like EZ-GO offers all kinds of possibilities for reducing wastefulness, thus saving time and money.

Wastefulness occurs in any production process, whether it be actual waste, overproduction or products that fail quality requirements. Other forms of wastefulness include unnecessary downtime and waiting times. These types of wastefulness can be reduced dramatically by optimising processes and ensuring that they are executed in the best possible way at all times. Here is how.

1. Optimal process execution at all times

Optimal execution of processes is an important aim in any production environment. That is why such procedures are recorded in work instructions, ensuring that everyone activates machines, replaces materials and cleans up in the same way. And yet, deviations remain part of everyday reality. Every experienced operator does things ‘in their own way’, while paper-based work instructions stay unread in the drawer.

Digital tools improve the uniformity of operations. Checklists appear proactively for each shift and operators tick off their activities. As a result, no important tasks are left undone. Of course, digital work instructions don’t have to be consulted every time, but when wastefulness exceeds expectations, they can be referenced to check whether everyone is still observing the same optimal work procedure.

2. Training and work instructions

New staff are usually trained by experienced colleagues. That means that the knowledge gained by the new employee depends on who trains them and what they choose to emphasise. And when a new employee gets stuck on the job, an experienced colleague may not be available to help.

Digital work instructions use videos and photos to demonstrate an action and its intended end result at a glance. It acts as an aid for the trainer, and as reference material for the trainee to recap everything later on and check to see how it’s done. This helps avoid ambiguity, errors of judgment and deviations.

3. Solving problems more quickly

‘Oh, this happens all the time. Just pull here and it’ll be back to normal.’ Sounds familiar? Some problems are bound to reoccur. An older machine, materials reacting to heat – some issues are just unavoidable. But if you don’t know how to solve them, you’ve got a big problem. Sometimes that experienced colleague who knows how to solve it isn’t around, prompting the operator to ask other colleagues to help or call the engineering department. Before you know it, a lot of valuable time has been lost.

A digital tool like the EZ-GO platform allows you to set up checklists and work instructions for frequently occurring issues. Everyone has access to the same solutions, which they can apply based on simple video or photo instructions. The issue is resolved in no time.

4. Finding the cause

When reading the tip above, you probably thought: ‘isn’t it better to address the cause?’ Well, of course! If that’s an option, that’s what you should do. A digital tool will once again prove very helpful. EZ-GO allows each operator to report an issue, assign it to the person who could solve it and add suggestions for a potential solution. In some cases, it will be a combination of a long-term and a short-term solution, e.g. ordering a new filter and making sure that the seal of a valve is double-checked until the new filter is installed.

In the case of less obvious issues, statistics may be helpful. If the same check keeps delivering a negative result for instance, you know something structural is going on. These situations are easily identified when each check is recorded digitally. Practice shows that statistics are often used as input for work meetings, where colleagues discuss adjustments to the process or other solutions necessary to prevent certain issues.

Continuous improvement

Reducing wastefulness is essentially a form of continuous improvement, which begins with identifying the best work methods and deploying tools to implement those methods consistently, and that allow operators to report potential improvements. Digital tools facilitate this process and have become an integral part of the workplace.