Applying Lean Principles in Medical Device Manufacturing – VistaMed’s Lean Blog
Article 1: Making the Journey, Back to Basics & My Favourite Waste
Welcome to ‘Lean Matters’, our fortnightly blog discussing techniques, approaches and methods for banishing waste in our company.
When talking ‘Lean’, many folk like to discuss all the latest complicated strategies and the current popular trends relating to continuous improvement. I am partial to this myself, however, these discussions can often muddy the waters for those that are new to lean. You may not see this as a big problem but it can be. Lean is often described as a journey for a reason. A business, it’s employees and its customers cannot simply jump in and be expected to be in an advanced lean state with a highly developed culture of continuous improvement. Lean is very much experience based and you need to travel the journey from the beginning if you are to acquire a deep understanding. It is only with experience and a deeper understanding that you will gain the benefit of continuous improvement and will truly begin to banish waste from your processes.
In this Blog, I want to get back to basics and focus on what Lean is really about: Getting rid of waste. Getting rid of waste is at the heart of Lean. In fact every method, principle and management strategy we employee under the umbrella of continuous improvement has the same aim: To get rid of waste.
With this in mind I want to start off this Blog by discussing one of the 7 deadly wastes: ‘Transportation’
‘Transportation’ is one of my favourite wastes!
‘Transportation’ is one of the easiest wastes to see. And once you can see a waste, you can do something about it.
‘Transportation’ waste can be defined as: ‘Conveyance – Movement of people, machines, or product that does not add value to the product or service.’
Transportation of parts and materials around the plant does not add value to the product but can use up a lot of time!
Here are some causes of ‘Transportation’ waste:
- Poor understanding of process flow
- Ineffective cell layout
- Ineffective cleanroom layout
- Large batch sizes
- Large storage areas
So take a look at your processes, try to take note of any transportation that is going on. Every time you see transportation in your process, seize that opportunity and look to eliminate or minimize it.
Seamus Maguire – GROWTTH Manager