8 types of waste | Lean Mushroom Farming


Today we are looking at substrate production through the lens of LEAN and especially the 8 types of waste.
If you are not familiar with them, let me give you a brief overview.

  • Defects: Efforts caused by rework, scrap, and incorrect information
  • Overproduction: Production that is more than needed or before it is needed.
  • Waiting: Wasted time waiting for the next step in a process. Product in a work queue.
  • Non-utilized talent: Non or underutilizing people’s talents, skills, and knowledge.
  • Transportation: Unnecessary movements of products and materials.
  • Inventory: Building and storing extra materials/products than needed.
  • Motion: Unnecessary movement of people that does not add value.
  • Extra-Processing: More work or higher quality than is needed by customer.

To remember, all of them use the acronym DOWNTIME.

DOWN = Defects, Overproduction, Waiting and Non-utilization

TIME = Transportation, Inventory, Motion and Extra-Processing

Why should you care?

DOWNTIME means everything which is holding you and your mushroom business back. Reducing DOWNTIME gives you more time adding value to your customer.

Here, added value means

  1. A change to the form or function of the product or service
  2. for which the customer is willing to pay you and
  3. the step is performed the first time correctly.

Everything else is defined as waste.

Out of all the things you are doing in your business, only 5% add value. Meaning, 95% of what you are doing is defined
as non-value added.

But there are non-value-added activities that are essential and others that are non-essential.

Those non-essential activities are categorized into the 8 types of waste I just described.

To give you an idea of where in your business you can find them, we will take a look at a mushroom production.
The guys running the production are doing a great job, and I want to use their practice as an example.

In doing so, I hope this video, which is an experiment, helps further improve your business.

Therefore, my video is not intended as a personal critique towards those guys, even though you might find it sometimes out of place or that I am too hypercritical.

Let’s get started.
We will get introduced to the production at the beginning of the video. It starts with assembling the tables, bringing bags, scoops, and other tools to the place. From the perspective of LEAN rebuilding the bagging area from scratch is defined as waste. It falls in the category of MOTION and TRANSPORTATION, as rebuilding means unnecessary movements of people and materials that add no value to the customer.

And no, running in parallel the mixer and you are utilizing this time does not count as you could do other tasks. Especially if they could add value. The question here is, how often are you making a new batch of substrate?

If it is only once a month, I would consider it okay to redo it. While two times or more per week is clearly wasteful. Besides, with a permanent setup, you are more likely to fix things that are only bothering you at the moment, like, for example, the too-large distance between the mixer and the table, the mixer is too low, and you have no waste bin next to the mixer to through in the empty bags. You will notice that the trough is in the way.

All of these things fall into the category of MOTION and TRANSPORTATION. While a low positioned mixer is perfect for filling, emptying via a trough is suboptimal. Especially as you have to lift up the full trough onto the table.

When it comes to bagging, the idea of having a funnel is excellent as it makes the filling of the bags easier.

But there are two things I would improve on. The funnel itself does not seem stable as it moves around every time you touch it. These adjustments are minor but can add up over time. More importantly than that, the funnel itself is too short. After the first scoop, the bags slumps and have to be rearranged. To prevent another slump from happening, you are forced to hold the bag with your hand. Besides, 3 scoops to fill a bag are 2 scoops too much.

Let us take a look at the table which is used for folding the bags. This table is way too small as it just can fit up to 6-7 bags before the bags are getting in the way for the person who is folding. Second, the person who is folding should stand in front of the table and not on the side. This avoids leaning over the bags. Speaking of space, the trough has to be rearranged as there is too little space for the filled bags.

Placing the new and empty bags in the middle of the table leads to an unusual movement of the person who has to fill the bags. The folding itself is straightforward, but you guessed it, at the 10-minute mark, the person is redoing the folding. For example, it could be because of the camera, as he does not want to look waiting and doing nothing in front of it. We do not know.

Suppose we would assume there is a general tendency for redoing an already folded bag. In that case, we have to call it a DEFECT because of rework or MOTION because of unnecessary movements.

When filling the sterilizer, a ladder is needed as the sterilizer is too tall. This means you have to lean over to fill the sterilizer and for unloading as well. These kinds of movements are, from the LEAN perspective, not ideal. Besides, over time they can impact your health. I know you are young, but time will tell.

Before filling the sterilizer, 9 (*12) bags were prepared, leading to several contacts with the bags. Meaning they are moved after the folding is finished several times, which is unnecessary. In the world of LEAN, the fewer movements you have to make to finish a task, the better. It is, therefore, the goal to place the folded bag directly after folding inside the sterilizer. This avoids a second person being needed to help fill the sterilizer.

Here, the second person is needed as otherwise, the other person has every time to step up and down from the ladder to grab a new bag. In the current situation, as you need a second person, the second person sometimes has to

You might think I am too hypercritical, but as I said, small things will add up, especially if you think about other waiting times. While one person waiting for some seconds seems too critical, having several people waiting for minutes is not. They do not add value to your customer, meaning they do not pay for it, and you have to pay your employees for the non-productive time.

But again, we have to see the bigger picture, meaning the size of your business. The more people are affected by one of these activities, the closer you should pay attention to them.

If you want that I take a look at your operation or parts of it, please go to the community section, check the available polls, and submit your video.

Talk to you in the next one.


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