December 1, 2016

Continuously improving your manufacturing planning, operations, and processes is the key principle of Lean Manufacturing. Continuous improvement should be focused on reducing the 7 Wastes of Lean.

The 7 Wastes of Lean are:

  • 1. Inventory
  • 2. Motion
  • 3. Transportation
  • 4. Waiting
  • 5. Overproduction
  • 6. Over Processing
  • 7. Defects

Inventory and Motion can be greatly reduced by improvements to Line-side and Point of Use planning. It is likely that all 7 Wastes of Lean will be reduced (especially Overproduction and Waiting), as every supply chain and manufacturing operation is linked intrinsically. As a generally accepted principle, it is a good idea to start your waste elimination at the line-side or point of use.


Inventory at the line-side and point of use should be controlled as it can affect the flow of materials as well as the operators’ work. Too much inventory and the workstation is cluttered (among other side effects), too little and line stoppages might occur. Inventory at the line can be controlled by the following:

  1. 1. Selecting and optimizing the correct delivery/signal method
  2. 2. Assigning the most effective standardized container for the part
  3. 3. Leveling production
  4. 4. Having an efficient, ergonomic layout for material handlers and presentation of parts/tools to the operator


Unnecessary motion is considered waste. Walking around looking for parts, sifting through excess inventory, etc. leads to wasted motion and can increase process cycle time. In general, the above 4 mentioned steps to controlling inventory at the line will also significantly reduce motion.

Necessary Data

To plan your Line-side and Point of Use presentation and reduce the 7 Wastes, you will need to capture the following necessary data for every part that you plan on sending to the production line:

  • • Part dimensions

  • • Part weight

  • • Presentation container type

  • • Container dimensions

  • • Container weight

  • • Quantity Per Container (QPC)

  • • Point of Use location

  • • Demand

  • • Transport type (type of cart, conveyor, etc.)

  • • Delivery/Signal Method (Kanban, Kitting, MRP, Sequence, etc.)

  • • Presentation method (Flow rack, custom rack, FIFO Lane, etc.)

    In addition for Kanban parts, you will need the necessary information to make Kanban calculations:

    • • Forecasted Daily Usage

    • • Safety Factor

    • • Line consumption factor percentage

    • • Days on Hand

    • • Note: There are multiple variations of Kanban calculations, so your data items might be slightly different.


Being able to easily navigate, analyze, and sort the necessary part information is crucial in planning your line-side and point of use operations. Without the data, the planning of your operations will fail. Determining the best delivery/signal method, presentation method, and presentation container types is essential for your line-side and point of use plan.

In future blog posts, we will discuss how to determine the best delivery/signal method, presentation method, standard containers, and Kanban calculations. Visit our website Loop Supply Systems or call us at 205-444-1185 to better understand the importance of planning your supply chain.