Systematic approach

reducing resource waste

Thematic story: Systematic approach to reducing resource waste

The purpose behind the establishment of a systematic management mechanism is to prevent the chaos of having different approaches that stem from the varying work experience and professional knowledge that each of us brings to the Company. From scientific statistics and analysis of data, we can rationally identify the areas for improvement and resolve the pain points in our operation.

In the past five years, YOKE has been improving manufacturing yield rate, reducing excessive wear on equipment and boosting production efficiency through various projects such as the 5S workplace organization method, the establishment of the continuous improvement team (CIT) and so forth. However, as many projects that focus on continuous improvements proceed to their second or even third year of implementation, the team that is responsible for the project tend to get caught in a quandary of either running out of improvement projects to work on, or even worse, realizing that all the hard work hadn’t really paid off after careful assessment. This is where the green management tool that comes with the analysis of material flow cost accounting (as prescribed in ISO 14051) truly shines. The model takes all material input and output during the process of product manufacturing and converts all committed resources by expressing them as positive goods and negative goods. This quantitative analysis method enables us to identify an opportunity for improvement by reducing the generation of negative goods.

In August 2019, YOKE launched its material flow cost accounting (MFCA) project in reference to ISO 14051 Environmental management - Material flow cost accounting – General framework (2011) for relevant analysis and calculation to analyze the relationship between input into relevant processes for target product (material, energy), output (product and waste) and various costs so as to better understand relevant costs in the material flow of product manufacturing. It has been carried out in the hopes of reducing waste generation, reducing our impact on the environment and improving our profit from the operation.

Maturity in management can be separated into five stages: non-official, individual, systematic, digitized and continuous improvement. When an organization performs management and improvements gradually from individual members’ professional competence and in turn, develops individualized management flow and methodologies. At this stage, the organization will attempt to systemize and standardize the management approach. Incidentally, the construction and promotion of quantified management tools will stem from the need for a mechanism of effective measurement, analysis and control to push systemized management over the boundaries of a model for continual improvement. Through objective analysis of quantified data, one can ensure stable and consistent management benefits, which defines a management system that facilitates continuous improvement.

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To illustrate, we will use our signature product, “rebar hook” N-3630T, for a demonstration of the analysis. Rebar hook functions as a component in our high-altitude fall prevention equipment, which is essential protective equipment of personal safety worn by workers to protect them from accidental falls. The reason we picked N-3630T as the example is simple: the collection of relevant data is easier and the manufacturing process is relatively complete and mature for the product that is being manufactured in the largest quantity. We hope that by implementing the project, we will better understand and familiarize ourselves with the methods and analysis of MFCA and process relevant information and identify the hot spots of loss for materials and costs through principles of accuracy, exhaustiveness, and comparability.

After analyzing the manufacturing process for N-3630T, we have separated the entire process into 7 quantity centers (QC). As rebar hooks fall under the category of personal safety equipment, with the exception of nonconforming plating (being a defect in appearance and can be reworked) and parts/component defect (which can be taken apart for reassembly), all other nonconforming products produced at other quantity centers can only be scrapped as wastes and disposed of as recyclable waste. As the project carried on, all input and output at each QC were faithfully analyzed and through the process of cost structure analysis, we were able to identify pain spots that can be improved upon.

From the perspective of environmental sustainability, resources cannot be exploited and used indefinitely. And as such, effective management of resource consumption and reuse through recycling are necessary targets for businesses in pursuit of sustainable development. Apart from being a way of assessing and reducing the generation of wastes and facilitating remanufacturing, recycling and reuse, the introduction of ISO 14051 also serves as a new perspective for YOKE to explore new possibilities of a cross-industry alliance by utilizing wastes from other businesses as material or consumable to be invested by YOKE to achieve the goal of creating a circular economy.

Based on the analysis results, we realized that the key cause of waste and consumption throughout the entire manufacturing process was the lamination in the forging process, which manifests as the flash materials formed from the lamination. Consequently, YOKE has been working on the reduction of forging material input after the completion of product development and after comprehensive testing to determine the optimal specifications for crude rods (i.e. rod diameter and length) to reduce the generation of waste material.

We were also surprised by the discovery that the cumulative costs for the rags we use to wipe the machinery (per kg of input) and waste disposal are too high. The fact that the cost for waste disposal for the rags had far exceeded the actual cost of purchasing went unnoticed reflected that we have grossly underestimated the real cost for the rags. YOKE has therefore reached out to local manufacturers of ready-to-wear garments in Taichung and made a proposition for collaboration so that they will ship the scrap cloth and fabric they have from production to YOKE so that we can in turn use them to clean our equipment. In truth, the different types of grinding wheels we use also have similar issues of disposal costs far exceeding their purchasing prices. We will soon be analyzing the usage of grinding wheels for different specifications against the cost of disposing of them as waste to find the sweet spot between the cost of consumption and the cost of waste disposal.

The MFCA project also revealed that in the processing operations, components such as powder drills, chamfer and cutting mixture all contributed a specific portion of the cost for waste disposal. Through our process improvement project in 2020 and waste reduction special project, we were able to improve the efficiency of drill use by reducing the usage of drills and reducing the use of cutting mixture and reducing the generation of waste oil through the recycling of compacted waste iron chips. For more details, see “7-5 Energy conservation and waste reduction.”

Through different approaches and methods, YOKE has sought optimization of processes and resource use. By taking on a more aggressive and proactive approach as we tried to solve the root cause that is hidden at the core of the problem, we were doing more than just trying to improve upon our operation; it also reflected the passionate contribution we have made towards a sustainable environment.

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+886-4-2350-8088 

#39, 33rd Road,Taichung Industrial Park, Taichung 407, Taiwan