Lean Manufacturing Tip Video – The Components of War … er Work?

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by | Feb 15, 2021

Do not let your Rhode Island manufacturing company be defeated by wastes!

In a new “Lean Tip of the Week” video, Polaris MEP Project Manager Nathan Bonds links the concept of manufacturing waste elimination to Sun Tzu’s “Art of War.”

In order to win the battle for success, manufacturers must understand the components of work:

  • actual work,
  • auxiliary work, and
  • wastes.

Actual work is the work your customers value. Wastes are your manufacturing company’s opponent when vying for success. Press play below to hear Nathan breakdown these components of war … er, work in under 3 minutes.

What are the Eight Wastes of Lean Manufacturing?

The essences of lean is to eliminate waste. There are eight wastes that manufacturers need to be aware of, known by the acronym “DOWNTIME”:

  1. Defects
  2. Overproduction
  3. Waiting
  4. Non-utilized people
  5. (Unnecessary) Transportation
  6. (Excess) Inventory
  7. (Extra) Motion
  8. Extra Processing

Reduce these eight wastes through lean manufacturing tools to achieve the greatest profitability possible.


Chi Kitchen - lean manufacturing kimchi in Rhode IslandHow Winning the Battle Against Waste Helped A Rhode Island Food Manufacturer

One of Polaris MEP’s recent client success stories related to waste elimination that allowed for more actual work.

Chi Kitchen creates flavorful, hand-crafted Asian foods at their Pawtucket, Rhode Island, location. The team felt the packaging process for their signature Kimchi product was too costly.

Working with Nathan and Polaris MEP, Chi Kitchen identified and removed waiting time, motion and extra processing. As a result of optimizing actual work, the manufacturer was able to reduce the time required to weigh and pack one jar of Kimchi by 50%.

It used to take three people to pack 41 cases of Kimchi in an 8-hour shift. After eliminating waste, the same team is able to pack 70 cases of Kimchi in a day. This is a 70% increase in output!

Tim Greenwald, Operations Manager for Chi Kitchen, said

“The mentality that we now have on how we approach everything has changed. Now, when we approach something new we come out of the gates thinking about how can I reduce movement, are things in the right place where they need to be for each employee, and so on.”

In other words, the Chi Kitchen team is now practiced in the Art of War, asking how can they eliminate wastes and optimize actual work.

Lean manufacturing, at its core, is about the relentless pursuit of finding and eliminating waste. Could going to war on waste stimulate greater success for your manufacturing business?

Talk to Nathan or any Polaris MEP Project Manager about how you can win this battle against wastes with us on your team. Call us at 401-270-8896 or email Nathan directly at nbonds@polarismep.org.

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