TIMWOODS: He’s “everywhere” at Lawton


By Hannah Cantrell

If you’re unfamiliar with the Lean business model, you may be wondering, “Who is Tim Woods?” Here’s a hint: He works in every department. If you don’t pay attention to him, he’s creating waste.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, TIMWOODS isn’t really a person. It’s an acronym, or mnemonic device, that highlights the eight forms of waste we focus on eliminating in Lean manufacturing: transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, over producing, over processing, defects and skills.

T- Transportation

Transportation refers to the movement or handling of people, products or materials. When transportation of any of these things is moving slowly, time is being wasted. Slow movement can be due to a poor layout, unnecessary distance between operations and handling of excess inventory.

Some ways to eliminate this waste are rearranging the workplace layout to minimize movement and make necessary movement more efficient. Lastly, working with smaller batch sizes can help eliminate the waste of transporting excess inventory, which leads us to our next point.

I- Inventory

Excess inventory, whether it is finished product, work in progress or raw material, is a waste of space, money and time. Although the thought of extra inventory may be comforting, all excess inventory requires storage space, money to pay for that space, transportation and time for production and transportation.

In addition, extra inventory can also lead to damaged or obsolete goods if items sit too long or storage space is over capacity. Excess inventory can also result in longer lead time if time is wasted on producing goods that aren’t needed. Through excess inventory, many other resources are wasted. This is why it’s important to stick to producing only what is necessary in order to eliminate waste.

M- Motion

Unnecessary, strenuous motion such as bending, turning, reaching or lifting can lead to injury. By simply redesigning your workplace or workstation layout to make tools and supplies more easily accessible, you can eliminate a great deal of unneeded movements.

Here at The C.A. Lawton Co., our primary focus above all else is safety, and our secondary focus is eliminating waste. Because eliminating unnecessary motion can help us avoid preventable injury and reduce waste at the same time, this is one of the best places to start when it comes to eliminating TIMWOODS.

W- Waiting

Any time spent waiting for parts, information, instructions or to use equipment is wasted time. To avoid this, brainstorm ways in which you can use your waiting time wisely. For example, while I was waiting to speak to my supervisor, I began writing this article.

O- Over Producing

By making more than is needed, you are over producing. This is a waste of time, resources and space. Over producing leads to excess inventory, and from our discussion above, you already know what a waste that is! All you have to do to avoid this type waste is to only produce what demand requires, and adhere to a production schedule.

O- Over Processing

Don’t overdo it. Adding extra steps, using a higher grade material than required, or having an excessively tight tolerance can lead to over processing and waste. The best way to avoid over processing is adhering to standardized processes. These processes are the most efficient and effective in getting the job done, and will ensure that waste is eliminated.

D- Defects

Reworking or scrapping a product can be quite costly. Even having incorrect documentation can cost you valuable time. Because of this, we must do everything we can to avoid defects. By simply providing informative and thorough training, engaging in effective communication, and through utilizing standardized manufacturing processes that ensure proper production, the number of defects can be decreased, or even eliminated.

S- Skills

If a skilled employee is being underutilized, their skill is being wasted. On the other hand, an employee not being properly trained to complete assigned tasks can also be wasteful. Without proper training, mistakes and defects, or waiting around can occur. By simply allocating workers to tasks that match their skill set, many forms of waste can be reduced.

As you may have noticed, many of the elements of TIMWOODS are intertwined with each other. That means if you are creating waste in one way, odds are you are creating waste in another way as well. This also means if you can find a way to eliminate waste in the skills category, for example, you are also decreasing the probability of defects and time wasted. Now that’s what I call Lean!

In order to avoid TIMWOODS, all you have to do is keep your mind on questions such as “What can I do to eliminate waste?”, “Can this be done more efficiently” or “Am I creating waste right now?” By simply asking these questions, we can keep TIMWOODS unemployed, and make our facilities run like lean, mean efficiency machines.