Original Date: 02/23/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Work-in-Process Cans
At the suggestion of an employee, Northrop Grumman now provides Work In Process cans at each workstation. These cans are closed top, metal storage containers used to temporarily store wiping rags, shop towels, and rubber gloves for reuse throughout the work shift.
Some of the ideas for a company to save money come from its employees on the work floor. One successful idea was to furnish each workstation with a Work In Process (WIP) can. In 1991, the company implemented this idea at its Hawthorne and El Segundo facilities.
WIP cans (Figure 2-6) are temporary storage, closed top, metal cans that measure approximately 12 inches in diameter and seven inches deep. Wiping rags, shop towels, and rubber gloves can be temporarily stored in the cans and reused throughout the work shift. The cans are then emptied at the end of each shift.
WIP cans extend the useful life of rags, towels, and gloves; decrease the amount of solvent used; and reduce the number of hazardous waste containers for disposal. Northrop Grumman has realized an annual cost savings of $200,000 since implementing WIP cans. Worker efficiency has also improved by placing WIP cans throughout the facility. Employees have less contaminated materials to discard, and make fewer trips to the hazardous waste containers. This method has proven feasible in reusing textiles for those jobs which do not require a high degree of cleaning. Any operations facility that uses volatile organic compound (VOC)-containing materials on wiping rags, shop towels, and/or rubber gloves could benefit from this simple-to-implement program.
Figure 2-6. Work In Process Can
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