Manufacturing a Better Way to Reduce Waste

How do you cut waste and other by-products from production processes?

The Problem 
Not only is waste... well, wasteful, but it also increases manufacturing costs, reduces profits and impacts the environment. In short, the more that waste can be kept to a minimum, the better it is for everyone.

With so much waste produced, there’s a strong focus on changing how processes work. And establishing the right practices and systems to minimise this excess. But how?

Waste isn’t something that can be avoided
Leftovers. Surplus. Unwanted. However you describe it, waste is an unavoidable part of the manufacturing process. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be minimised.

Which is why many in the industry follow Lean Manufacturing.

Invented in the 1930’s, this method identifies any part of a manufacturing process that doesn’t add value so that waste can be reduced, and productivity increased. It has helped millions of companies for almost 100 years, enabling them to offer better products and services for their customers.

Fast forward to the 21st Century, and waste is more important than ever - whether that’s due to greater awareness of environmental impacts or the need to streamline budgets more efficiently.

Lean-ing into a better way of manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing has been around since the invention of radar, ballpoint pens and cat’s eyes (the road reflectors, not the feline variety).

Digital tech is helping and takes Lean Manufacturing to another level. The method now concentrates on the collection of tools, techniques, and principles that have proven to be effective at driving out waste. As well as providing the information needed to make sure that the entire manufacturing process is as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible.

Whether it’s from different raw materials, the production lines they’re made on or even the facilities they’re created in, more detailed data can be collected than ever before. And better decisions can be made.

But what should modern manufacturers be looking for? And how can they analyse it efficiently?

Seven waste types
According to Deloitte, there are seven main areas of waste that manufacturers should keep in mind when thinking about how to reduce them.

1. Overproduction

woman looking on device
What is it?

There's a fine line between making sure you have enough materials in stock to create products, without them taking up too much room – which can stop production of other products.

Why is it waste?

In a nutshell, it ties up your capital as you’ve spent it all on the wrong materials - which prevents you from fulfilling other orders. All of that excess sits gathering dust, as you don’t need to use it, while you have to find ways to buy new raw materials to meet orders.

How Sage can help

Sage can keep overproduction to a minimum. By monitoring - and keeping - production, purchasing and warehousing processes in line with demand, you can control and manage your supply chain. Ensuring your production is at the right level.

2. Transport

two man going and talking

What is it?

Everything you create has to go somewhere. So the more you create, the more you have to transport it around - whether that’s within the same building, down the road or even overseas.

Why is it waste?

Not only does all this movement have an impact on your environmental goals, but it can also affect the quality and costs of your products too. The more they move around, the more likely they might be damaged or even lost along the way - making them more expensive to replace.

How Sage can help

Sage can help you adapt and change plans when you need to, to help manage logistic flows wherever you’re sending products. With visual dashboards of real-time data, you can see what’s happening and avoid costly movement when it’s not needed

3. Motion

man working in warehouse

What is it?

Let’s take a closer look at how things move. It’s not just travelling to and from workstations in a bustling factory. This is also about how machine parts operate to keep production moving and the role that people play to create your products and services.

Why is it waste?

Even machines need to have some sort of movement. But when they - and the people operating them - have to do so in ways that can cause injury, stress, and general wear and tear, it’s going to lead to problems. And downtime to repair and recover.

How Sage can help

To stay on top of maintenance, and fix small issues before they become larger problems, requires in-depth management of asset data. Sage allows for preventative maintenance, work order control, early diagnosis and statistical analysis. With a single system in place, everyone can access all this important data and quality control can be easily monitored.

4. Inventory

man looking on parts

What is it?

If you want to turn a healthy profit, you need a steady stream of stock and products ready to send to your customers. It’s a fine balance to get right, and can lead to issues if you don’t.

Why is it waste?

Having too much product means you may have a hard time moving it and come across other issues - like warehouse availability, insurance costs and more. On the other hand, having too little means you can’t offer customers what they want or keep up with orders. In that case, you’re likely to end up spending more on costly last-minute fixes.

How Sage can help

A lot of manufacturers follow some variation of Just in Time (JIT) processes to keep that balance right. Sage makes this process much easier with real-time monitoring of inventory. So you can keep up with ever-changing customer demands without holding costly, excess inventory.

5. Defects

two persons discussing plan

What is it?

Nothing is perfect. So there are going to be occasions when products don’t meet your high standards. Whether they’re identified early on in the supply chain or when your customers receive them, having full traceability keeps these errors to a minimum.

Why is it waste?

Faulty, damaged or hazardous materials and goods not only affect the safety of your employees and customers, but can also impact your business’s reputation. Which is why it’s important to identify faulty batches and compromised raw materials, as well as if the problem is new or has been happening for a while.

How Sage can help

With real-time data at your fingertips, you can answer these questions instantly. Sage can identify exactly where issues lie at any stage, so you can address them quickly. Project management tools offer much more efficient product and project tracking - increasing planning accuracy and reducing the number of defects.

6. Waiting

open space of warehouse with three persons

What is it?

Similar to ‘Inventory’, this is all about making sure that products aren’t sitting idle during any stage of your manufacturing process. Whether that’s between workstations, sat on shelves or stored in warehouses.

Why is it waste?

Products not doing anything - whether it’s due to unplanned downtime, production bottlenecks, staff shortages or more - tie up significant capital in your business. Capital that isn’t adding value and costing you more while you wait.

How Sage can help

Sage shares information for oversight of the entire manufacturing process. Everything can be accessed easily, offering ‘one version of the truth’, so everyone knows what stage products are at, and when to expect them - meaning that there’s never a need to wait.

7. Overprocessing

conversation between two persons at work

What is it?

Put simply, this is when additional extras or options are added to the product that the end user didn’t ask for. This can be caused by a range of issues: from including extra steps in workflows, to having too much resource that results in double entry of data.

Why is it waste?

Sometimes it’s great customer service to go the extra mile, but it has to always add value to your bottom line. Duplication of work - unless critical, like safety checks for example - doesn’t make your product any better and just delays timelines.

How Sage can help

Sage can prevent the duplication of record creation and help optimise workflows by managing all manufacturing processes within a single system. From Bill of Materials (BOM) planning to shop floor control, using a single system puts you firmly in control with increased planning accuracy.

To find out how Sage 200 ERP can help you and your business, call your local Sage Partner, Paradise Computing, on 01604 655900 or request more information on our online contact form.

Meet the Team: Gareth Whyley

26 April 2024

Let's meet Paradise Computing's Project Manager, Gareth Whyley. Gareth has a background in IT consultancy and is a specialist in compliance and project management. He is passionate about helping our clients achieve their goals.

Meet the Team: Rachmann Joubert

12 April 2024

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Rachmann Joubert, a Sage Support Specialist who has brought his wealth of software development experience to the role to help build solutions for our clients.

Meet the Team: Ashley Curtis

29 March 2024

Today we're getting to know one of Paradise Computing's IT Support Engineers - Ashley Curtis. Ashley plays a vital role in supporting the IT infrastructure of our clients and supports them with his expert IT knowledge.