Boost productivity, save time and money with a “LEAN” approach to packaging your products
LEAN started in the automobile manufacturing industry and has spread to nearly every industry in every country. LEAN is how companies bring continuous improvement to life. It’s much simpler to implement than Six Sigma, even though many companies use both.
LEAN applies to product packaging, too. Often, the packaging department is the final frontier in bringing LEAN improvements to life. LEAN identifies up to nine forms of waste that plague most packaging environments and processes.
The “5S methodology,” an essential component of LEAN, is used to systematically eliminate unnecessary products and steps and ensure that everything your employees need to do their jobs is easy to find, easy to get and easy to return. The methodology also supports your employees’ understanding of your expectations and that people and process improvements are sustained over time.
The elimination of waste is how LEAN can drive value for you and elevate your packaging processes. LEAN groups activities into two categories—value-added (the things you want to pay for) and non-value-added (what you don’t want to pay for), often referred to as LEAN waste.
LEAN is shown to reveal these benefits:
- There’s a reduction in non-value-added activities.
- The packaging process is more efficient.
- Packaging materials take up less space.
- Employees feel more empowered and appreciated.
LEAN packaging waste types
If your business packages a product, up to nine forms of LEAN waste may be present. Every form of waste detracts from your business’ efficiency, productivity and quality.
These are the most common LEAN waste types embedded in the packaging process:
- Complexity waste is when the work itself is made too complex due to the lack of clearly communicated work instructions or work instructions that are too difficult to follow. Complexity waste is also created if you use outdated or ineffective tools and materials. In short, complexity waste slows work down.
- Space waste is when packaging materials are not well organized or standardized, leading to product proliferation—or because excess materials are on hand. This can be a costly form of waste that understanding the cost of capital makes visible.
- Transportation waste might be the “killer app” because it can be the most significant form of waste in any facility. It occurs when packaging is located far from where it’s used or when it’s stored in multiple locations, causing employees to travel the same path repeatedly.
When you apply LEAN to your packaging process, you minimize or eliminate non-value-added waste and ensure that efforts go toward value-added tasks and activities that continuously improve the process.
Ready to explore how LEAN can improve your business? Get in touch with Veritiv.