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How to Effectively Reduce Manufacturing Waste

Business owners often overlook manufacturing waste. Left unchecked, waste becomes a significant drain to the bottom line. From inventory waste, transportation waste and defective products, waste can accrue in various areas across the company.

In this article, we will learn about manufacturing waste, its different types and how to effectively reduce it. 

What is Manufacturing Waste?

Waste is an activity that uses resources but doesn’t add value to the end customer; hence it can be eliminated.

On the other hand, some activities that see materials going to the bin are sometimes valuable to end customers and must not be considered complete waste. 

You can classify waste as:

Types of Manufacturing Waste

Many things can lead to wastage in a manufacturing business. The eight types of waste as per Lean theory are: 

Waste can accrue from defects in raw materials that end up as scrap and are unusable. It can also happen through the processes and materials involved while transporting goods.

Waste is not always about something tangible. It can also take the form of time and resource wastage.

Wastage also occurs from overproducing goods that can’t be sold, overprocessing of materials for no reason and waste of motion. That’s where machinery, tools, or people have moved around during manufacturing unnecessarily.

Read about: Why Your Business Needs Manufacturing Control Software?

How to Effectively Reduce Manufacturing Waste

Here are eight ways how you can reduce manufacturing waste:

#1. Reduce Packaging Materials

Redesign product packaging and ensure it uses the minimum amount of materials. Try to incorporate recyclable or reusable packaging content such as air packs or corn-based packing peanuts to offer cushion. Buy products in bulk as it has reduced packaging.

#2. Establish a Preventative Maintenance Routine

Wear and tear is a part of the manufacturing process. So, if you do not perform regular maintenance, your business may waste a lot of time and money on seriously damaged equipment.

Regular maintenance minimizes costs in the long run and being proactive can prevent unexpected breakdowns. 

#3. Efficient Inventory Management

You can reduce manufacturing waste by controlling the materials used during the manufacturing process. Plus, you can also reduce the amount of excess raw materials in stock and hazardous materials to bring down the amount of waste generated. 

Just order the required quantity of any material and the amount needed for a specific period.

#4. Recover, Reuse, Sort

Recover maximum waste from onsite and offsite locations by employing different techniques like electrolysis, reverse osmosis, filtration, centrifugation, etc.

Recycling is another popular choice. You can recycle materials like plastic, paper and metal regularly and avoid recycling hazardous materials as it rarely provides any environmental benefits. 

Industrial shredders are critical and they help reduce waste by condensing asphalt, rubber, wood and plastics to a fraction of their original size.

Sorting waste ensures that recyclable items are going to the right place. You can assign someone the responsibility of monitoring the bins. It helps you find a viable solution for eliminating, reusing or reducing the generated waste.

What you consider as waste could be a resource for another business. Exchange the generated waste via a waste exchange program with such businesses.

#5. Label and Organize Warehouses

Make sure that your warehouses are well-marked and organized. All the location of inventory, supplies, tools and assets necessary to the manufacturing processes should be marked throughout the warehouse. 

Over time, the markings may fade, become non-existent or obsolete. Old signage may not hinder longtime employees, but new hires and temporary workers may have difficulty navigating through a warehouse that isn’t marked or organized correctly.

Lost signage may result in increased time searching for the right tool needed for an urgent repair or shipping incorrect finished goods to customers. Replace faded tags and signs and repaint floor lines consistently.

#6. Volume Reduction

Volume reduction helps cut the cost of waste disposal. It requires segregation techniques to separate hazardous from non-hazardous materials.

We can broadly divide volume reduction into two categories – source segregation and waste segregation. The former increases the likelihood of the material being recycled or reused, while the latter consists of different types of valuable materials within the waste that are treated separately. For example, the metal value in sludge can be recovered.

#7. Minimize Water Usage

Wastewater and industrial sludge make up a significant portion of manufacturing waste streams. You can reduce them by minimizing water usage in the operations. Substitute water with chemical drying agents, dry machining, reverse osmosis or utilize a membrane biological reactor system.

You can encourage employees to cut down on bottled water as plastic drinking bottles comprise a major portion of plastic waste generated. Switch to drinking water in glasses or you can promote the use of reusable bottles in the workplace.

#8. Adopt a Closed Loop Manufacturing System

Green chemistry is an excellent technique to reduce waste generated by various processes, but if that’s not a viable solution, consider a closed-loop manufacturing system. Closed loop helps you keep track of inventory and utilize recycled materials in the production cycle.

Closed-loop systems extend the lifespan of chemicals by maximizing how efficiently they are used. It helps reduce the amount of contamination produced and minimizes the number of new chemicals to be purchased.

Read about: The Lean Approach in Food Manufacturing

How Dear Systems Inventory Management Software can Help Reduce Manufacturing Waste

DEAR Systems’ cloud-based inventory management software will aid your efforts to be leaner. DEAR Systems automates otherwise manual and time-consuming procedures like stocktakes and stock reordering. 

DEAR Systems also provides visual oversight of performance and allows you to track waste to improve processes and make them more efficient. Start a 14 days Free Trial of DEAR Systems now.

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