WOW Manufacturing: An Attempt to Win the War on Waste

WOW Manufacturing: An Attempt to Win the War on Waste

Generation of waste is unavoidable but making use of the waste, generated in a smart way is a new approach the industry has taken. Cement industry is a torch bearer in this new approach. Sanjay Joshi, Chief Manufacturing Officer, Nuvoco Vistas Corp. Ltd is taking us through the various fac...

Generation of waste is unavoidable but making use of the waste, generated in a smart way is a new approach the industry has taken. Cement industry is a torch bearer in this new approach. Sanjay Joshi, Chief Manufacturing Officer, Nuvoco Vistas Corp. Ltd is taking us through the various facets of war on waste. The fight for reducing wastage is almost as old as the history of manufacturing. Some amount of wastage is inevitable and often written off as part of the production costs. However, the struggle to contain waste kicked in as soon as manufacturers realised that reducing waste was a more efficient way of increasing their profits as opposed to raising prices. Today the aim for reducing waste is not just about the profit margins. Modern producers also see it as a sustainable practice that must be followed as part of responsible manufacturing. The concept of WOW is a multifaceted approach that stresses on eliminating waste, optimize processes, cut costs, boost innovation, and reduce time in the ever-changing global & local marketplace. The ultimate goal of practicing WOW isn’t simply to eliminate waste – it’s to sustainably deliver value to the customer. To achieve this goal, WOW defines waste as anything that doesn’t add value to the customer. This can be a process, activity, product, or service; anything that requires an investment of time, money, and talent that does not create value for the customer is a waste. Idle time, underutilized talent, excess inventory, and inefficient processes are all considered waste under WOW concept. It provides a systematic method for minimizing waste within a manufacturing system, while staying within certain margins of control such as productivity and quality. Where the traditional definition of waste included “anything consumed in excess of what is needed for our survival and comfort”, this modern approach sees waste as a “non-value-added activity that is not beneficial to the consumer, either directly or indirectly”. The distinction here must be made between NVA that is beneficial to the consumer (e.g. quality check processes) and activities that are not beneficial to the consumer (e.g. delayed raw material supply). WOW does not focus exclusively on waste reduction, but waste is minimized or eliminated more as an inevitable byproduct of better production flow. There are numerous areas of waste that go overlooked. WOW typically focuses on seven key wastes: Wastes in Transportation Wastes in Inventory Wastes in Motion Wastes in Waiting Wastes in Over-production Wastes in Over-processing Wastes in Defect Once the waste in these areas is identified, a centralised and well-planned approach must be adopted to address these systematic deficits. While some solutions may need tweaking or re-hauling of processes, others may need additional equipment. The cost of process disruption or new equipment is usually offset by the cost-efficiency brought in by the reduction in wastage. Wastes in Transportation The wastage of time and resources during the transportation of products/items and information results in a direct loss. Waste in transportation is most likely to occur while the product is in-process and needs to be transported over a great distance for its finishing process or in between different warehouses. In the case of information, the wastage is usually during dissemination. Solution: Waste in transportation at our plant is addressed through the reduction of transit losses at multiple points. This includes clinker, cement, and all other required raw materials, controlling transit damage of cement bags during road and rail dispatch, bringing down Raw Material and Semi Finished Goods carpet loss during storage and handling, reduction in Demurrage hours & multiple handling inside the factory. Wastes in Inventory Any excessive product, service, or information comes under this category for example raw material, semi-finished goods, and final products. It may result in depreciation of material quality or parts, and would require additional storage and transportation costs. There are other associated costs, such as wastage of rent godown and working capital. Wastage in inventory is often indicative of internal deficiencies like unbalanced production, delay in material delivery, inadequate supply planning, and unused machine capability. Solution: To reduce waste in inventory, start with identifying ways to use slow moving and non-moving spares and scraps. This is followed by an evaluation of the process of disposal of scraps. Once the gaps are identified, the process of optimization starts with liquidating idle assets and reducing rented godown area. Aiming to manage operation with lean inventory in terms of Raw material, finished good and semi-finished goods. Wastes in Motion Excessive movement of material and personnel during manufacturing indicates that there is an unproductive process that can be shortened, thereby reducing the time taken and any deterioration of quality. This also results into inefficient manufacturing. Solutions: Typically a time and motion study is conducted to identify and measure the different steps required in a process. Once the wasteful procedures are identified, a standard time and motion can be fixed for every process, leading to more efficient inter-warehouse movement and the reduction in sub-optimal cement movement. It can also help in addressing shortages in transit. Internal Raw material handling is a key challenge in cement industry, reduction in internal handling by optimum movement helps to minimize cost and wastages. Wastes in Waiting This includes the time wasted while waiting for a product, equipment, or information. It means an immediate loss of time and may impact the overall quality standards of raw material, semi finished & finished goods. Wastage in waiting is indicative of unbalanced processes where one process takes longer than others so that a worker has to wait until they can fulfill their task. Wastage occurs only if the worker is not engaged in pre-planned and productive work while waiting. Solutions: Proper planning of raw material and finished goods helps to reduce bunching of rakes leading to less demurrage cost. Effective scheduling of shutdown, reduced waiting time between activities helps to reduce shutdown time and improve production. Wastes in Over-production & Processes I Inaccurate estimation of demand or starting the production too soon can cause over-production. This is perhaps seen as the worst type of waste. It also leads to excessive inventory, resulting in wastage & deterioration of quality of semi finished & finished products. Since the end product is in excess, the production process also becomes unnecessary, involving wastage of energy, raw material, resources, manpower and time. It also indicates multiple process gaps. Solutions: Managing king proper production schedule will avoid over production. Managing proper production schedule will avoid over production. Inaccurate forecasting and demand information leads to higher production. So projecting proper forecasting & planning gives better accuracy of production plans. Warehouse filled with product that does not sell or has not sold. The process starts with identifying over processed products or services. The focus must be on minimizing any excessive use of energy, fuel, water, and generation of fugitive dust while processing. Wastes in Defect Finally, there are mistakes and defects in the production process that must be eliminated or re-hauled completely. All repairs, and inspection that do not add value to the final product must be treated as waste. Solutions: Multiple avenues must be explored in identifying defect and damages. There are various indicators of defective processes, such as customer complaints and product non conformity. It’s always advisable to avoid defect to reduce waste and increase efficiency. WoW Implementation Process To be successful, a process must be codified with well-defined Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). WoW typically follows the following steps: Observation of the various processes/products/services. Identification of the wasteful practices or defective process/products/services. Analysis of the process/products/services to determine the ideal outcome. Exploring internal and external solutions. It can include a new technique, equipment, or tech support. Alternatively, it may require a readjustment of procedures. Carrying out cost studies to determine the effectiveness of the alternative processes to identify the most suitable solution. Carrying out test run of the new process to understand its challenges and effectiveness Establishing the new process across the plant or the chosen area in a well-planned manner. Educating employees and staff on the new procedures. This will include a clear enunciation of the SOPs. For the successful implementation of any change in tasks, it is also critical to explain the reason for the change and how it can benefit everyone. The War on Waste must be a continuous, multifaceted, and planned battle. Following these principles of WOW, adopting these tools, and reducing these key wastes, manufacturers can create highly desirable byproducts. WOW results in certain agility in meeting the competitive demands of a swiftly evolving marketplace. The focus on total expense and value rather than on single component costs not only eliminates waste and inefficiency, it also promotes quality and customer-driven solutions. About the author: Sanjay Joshi heads the Manufacturing function for Nuvoco’s Cement product line. He has over thirty years of experience in the Cement industry; having worked with L&T Cement, Thermax Ltd, Tata Steel; in addition to Nuvoco. His last assignment was with Century Cement as President and Unit Head at Maihar. Mr. Joshi holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering (Electronics & Power Engineering) from VRCE Nagpur.

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