8 Lean Wastes – Defects/Scrap/Rework

Posted on December 6, 2011 | in Defects, Lean Wastes, Small Business | by

lean waste defect scrap rework

(This is the first in a series of deeper dives into the eight Lean wastes. Today we start with the Lean waste defects.)

Defective products can sap resources multiple times in one occurrence.

Not only is there potentially wasted material on the scrap, but there’s also wasted time and wasted human energy.

Consider the resources required to make the product in the first place. Raw materials are reformed into useful products. Energy is required for that conversion. Capital equipment might be needed. Human energy is possibly incorporated.

But now the product is bad! Now all of those resources have to be leveraged again to make a non-defective product, PLUS there’s the effort needed to either take apart the defective product for recycling or salvage.

For example, a customer orders a Diet Coke with no ice (oddly, this customer sounds  a lot like me). The vendor gives me a Coke with no ice. This is unacceptable, and now the vendor has created scrap.

So here’s how the situation is made right for the customer. The vendor dumps out the Coke (wasting resources AND throwing away revenue that could have been made on selling that Coke to a Coke-preferring customer), salvages the cup, and uses his/her time on correcting the current customer’s order instead of moving onto the next customer.

Had it been done right the first time, waste could have been avoided.

So where did the scrap come from? Why did it happen in the first place? Let’s consider some root causes.

– Maybe the vendor wasn’t paying attention to the customer’s request.
– Maybe  the button for Diet Coke was incorrectly attached to a Coke syrup cylinder.
– Maybe the Coke supplier put the wrong label on the cylinder and it was hooked up under the assumption it contained Diet Coke.
– Maybe the Cokes and Diet Cokes had been premade, and the vendor simply grabbed the wrong one for the customer.
– And on and on…

Doing things right the first time would have prevented the waste from occurring. A simple error like providing the wrong drink can have waste consequences that aren’t readily seen.

Preventing the defect from happening in the first place requires digging deeper into more root causes and finding ways to prevent it from happening. How can supplies be tested (i.e. the Coke cylinder) for quality/acceptability before being put into production? How can vendors work with suppliers to prevent defective raw materials from arriving? What if customers could read their orders on a screen as operators are inputting their order into the computer?

So the essence here is… do it right the first time.

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