A lean facility starts by reducing waste

ORLANDO, Fla. – Creating a lean office or fabrication facility requires organization and forethought, but for Scott Wimberley, operations and technical director of Fabtech Systems, a lean facility means peace of mind.

“Lean is the business operations philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement and waste reduction to improve the profitability of the company and the happiness of the workplace,” Wimberley said here at the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium. “Happiness in the workplace sounds a little ‘touchy-feely’ when we say it, but having done this within our own facility, we have a much nicer place to work. The facility is a happier place to be.”

Waste reduction is only one component of the multifaceted plan, which takes its cue from Japanese organizational management ideas.


Scott Wimberley

 “Waste can be removed and it is not going to change the end product and customer satisfaction. It is something the customer isn’t going to pay for,” Wimberley said. He outlined eight classifications of waste in an organization:

  • over production, including working on several jobs at once, pulling all the plastic for the day at one time and batching,
  • transportation, including next day air shipping and sending employees out for materials,
  • waiting, including plastic cooling, plaster hardening and gunk setting,
  • motion, such as looking for misplaced tools and poorly designed lab spaces,
  • processing, including an inadequate  tool supply or improper tools,
  • inventory, either too much, too little or a non-standardized selection,
  • defects, and  
  • information, such as redundant or unnecessary forms processing.

Wimberley said most of these examples also include non-standardized or improperly sequenced processes.

For more information:

Wimberley S. Lean manufacturing in O&P. Presented at: American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium. Feb. 20-23, 2013. Orlando, Fla.

Disclosure: Wimberley has no relevant financial disclosures.

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