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Lean Manufacturing: The 7 Deadly Wastes of Waste


In lean manufacturing, there are seven widely recognized categories of “waste” that should be reduced to increase efficiencies and profit margin. While these seven wastes are traditionally focused on process, have you ever considered how they apply to your actual waste?


1. Transportation

Though transportation of waste is necessary, it should be optimized to reduce costs. The key word here is optimized.

When it comes to picking up waste and recyclables, less is often best. By identifying trash and recycling facilities nearby and reducing waste pickup frequency, you can alleviate high transportation costs.


2. Inventory 

In lean manufacturing, inventory waste refers to money tied up in goods that causes a drain on cash flow. Consider your waste as a form of inventory – many discarded materials can be recycled for cash or rebates. Make sure you’re not leaving money on the table by tossing out commodities.


3. Motion

Unlike transportation, “motion” refers to internal movements. Streamlined waste flow processes won’t cut into production time or create extra work for your employees, so they can focus on the task at hand.


4. Waiting

Right-size your waste equipment to ensure the containers match the volume for each discarded material. Instead of waiting to fill and sell a 40-yard container of cardboard, for example, consider downsizing to a 20-yard to get a quicker return on the materials.


5. Over-Production

Over-production ties directly into waste, as excess materials are ultimately thrown away.

To optimize production, consider taking a look at your trash for clues. A waste analysis will shed light into what is being thrown away and how your waste streams can be improved.


6. Over-Servicing

When it comes to waste, over-processing likely means over-servicing. If a truck hauls away a container that’s only at 30% capacity, you are spending too much money on unnecessary pickups.

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that additional collection days are often underutilized.

Also, the availability of recycling and composting programs helps reduce the need for multiple pickups even further.


7. Defects

Any defective work product will cost you time and resources to redo. However, you can offset defect-related costs by recycling those defective materials. Find a nearby vendor that purchases scrap metal, for example, and recoup a portion of your losses.

At Rubicon, we’re not just green – we’re lean. We apply lean manufacturing prowess to our process, so you can save time and money on your waste program.

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