This is part one in a four-part series investigating the potential lessons that the Cannabis industry can learn from Lean Manufacturing. Anderson Porter Design has an extensive background in Lean Design and Lean Construction Management: Principal Brian Anderson co-founded the Lean Construction Institute New England Community of Practice, which Dan Anderson currently leads, and several team members are certified as Lean Construction Managers through the AGC of MA.


Before diving in to ‘lessons learned’ from Lean, it is important to first understand what Lean is.  The definition of lean is “to maximize customer value while minimizing waste.” Waste, in terms of production and manufacturing, refers to “useless consumption or expenditure; use without adequate return.”

There are eight common sources of waste in the manufacturing and production industry that bear similarities to the cannabis industry. These are:

1_Transportation: Transportation in excess of what is required if inventory and flow exist in the network.

2_Inventory: Waste created by carrying inventory in excess of what is required to service the customer (or the next person downstream in the process).

3_Motion: All motion that does not add value to the product or process.

4_Waiting: All waste that exists because we are waiting for material, people, upstream processes, customer orders and all other dynamics that result in wait time before we can perform our work.

5_Overproduction: producing more than the market (or the next step in the process) demands

6_Over Processing: The waste that is created when we do more than is required to meet customer needs.

7_Defects: created when things are not done properly the first time around (re-work)

8_Skills: Waste is created when we fail to engage our team members, fail to share best practices and fail to work collaboratively.

Each of these types of waste can have a negative impact on production and processes, resulting in lost profits, unhappy employees, unnecessary expenditures, and more. Now that we’ve given a basic understanding the eight types of waste (identified originally by Taichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System), we can subsequently address the ways an Architect can help you and your team to address and reduce these wastes. Stay tuned for our next newsletter which will dive into this topic further.



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