In the case of the product inspection
system and codes mentioned earlier,
the real problem might be with the
printer that places the codes on the
product. It might need servicing, or
you might need a new printer entirely.
So instead of implementing a product
inspection system, the appropriate
countermeasure could be replacing the
printer — saving both time and money in
your overall packaging line process.
Now that you better understand
compensating behaviors, I’ll discuss two of
the most common types of waste I’ve seen
on a packaging line.
Waste Type 1. Pushing
Aside Partial Pallets With
A Robotic Arm
Many factories push partial pallets off to
the side of the line instead of sending them
to the rest of the warehouse. They do this
just because it’s a partial pallet, something
not easily accounted for.
This is actually a compensating behavior,
because you’ve invested a lot of money
both in the robotic arm and in the physical
space for a pallet-sized holding area.
Factories that are using this process may
be spending money to do this because they
don’t know how to disposition a partial
pallet. However, if they can figure out why
they are filling so many partial pallets in
the first place, they can increase both full
pallets and overall shipments, while saving
money and cutting unnecessary waste.
Waste Type 2. Fear Of
Line managers often review everything
a line operator does in fear that an
operator might have made a mistake.
Checking the line’s progress every 15
minutes, or triple-checking work are big
compensating behaviors. Line managers
need to ask why they are checking work
so frequently. In many cases, the root
cause stems from variances in how each
operator does the same job. However,
if operators are provided with specific
instructions on the line’s process from the
start, there is more consistency and less
room for error. That’s why packaging line
managers should consider implementing
Standard Work is a guide that operators
can use to quickly identify their daily tasks
and expectations on the line. It should
be straight-forward enough that any
new operator can follow and implement
daily packaging line tasks correctly and
efficiently. By applying Standard Work,
you’re reducing the opportunity for errors
because every operator is following the
same guidelines and process.
In general, once you start asking key
questions about common problems on
your packaging line and pulling on the
thread of compensating behaviors, you
will inevitably find the root cause of
your packaging line problems. And once
you start correctly identifying waste
on your packaging line, you be able to
implement process improvements and
countermeasures that can enable your
packaging line to succeed.
Jessica Wettstein is Director of Product
Planning at Videojet Technologies.