Achieving sustainability through lean production
A Nestlé case study

Below is a list of Business Case Studies case studies organised alphabetically by company. To view more companies, please choose a letter from the list below.

Page 3: Eliminating waste

Nestle 18 Diagram 1Value refers to the aspects of a product that customers think it is worth paying for. Added value refers to activities or processes that make the product better or worth more. Value can be added through changes to design or changes to the way a product functions or behaves. Value can also be added by reducing waste which in turn reduces production costs. Any activity which puts cost on a product without adding value is waste. Waste can happen at any part of the process. ‘Muda’ is the Japanese term for waste. Muda is broken down into the seven areas that make up the mnemonic ‘TIMWOOD’.

The Kaizen Institute gave employees an overview of Muda. Nestlé Waters then carried out a ‘waste hunting’ exercise of the old factory looking at the seven areas of Muda. This exercise established that waste was present in three main areas: production, inbound materials and outbound products.

Key areas where waste was found included excess handling, waiting time and defects. For example, raw materials, packaging and finished goods were handled multiple times. Waiting issues included blockages, idle machinery and trucks being made to wait at loading bays. The exercise also revealed other areas that could be further improved. These included label application on bottles, bottle cap application and finished bottle damage. The final area for improvement identified was that of water usage. Although the water bottling factory already has very low water usage in production, there was the opportunity for continuous improvements to further reduce this and add to improving the factory’s environmental impact.


Now that these inefficiencies had been identified, Nestlé Waters used its lean training to plan the new factory design and production layout to reduce waste in all seven areas of Muda. Layout, transport and non-value added operations were all targeted. Planned improvements to reduce waste at the new state-of-the-art factory included:

  • more efficient production line planning creating a more compact working area, reducing defects and waste water
  • more efficient and automated warehouse operations onsite
  • improved health and safety practices, separating the area for forklifts
  • relocation of pallets storage and recycling leading to reduced travel time between operations.

Planning at the new factory also aimed to improve Nestlé Waters’ environmental impact and the working environment for employees. For example, the new state-of-the-art factory has:

  • a glass frontage to the building to provide natural light
  • new lightweight bottles using 25% less PET plastic across the Buxton and Nestlé Pure Life ranges
  • external accreditation as a zero waste to landfill site
  • implemented a sustainable urban drainage system
  • Considerate Constructors Gold Award
  • excellent BREEAM rating - BREEAM is the independent rating for green buildings set down by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation.

Nestlé | Achieving sustainability through lean production