Getting LEAN and keeping off the “Waste”

Have you heard the saying “diets just don’t work”?  Studies show that 95% of people put back on the weight they have lost within 1-5 years after completing a diet program.  Proven weight loss success comes from obtaining a healthy EVERYDAY LIFELONG mindset.  

Getting “Lean” in the workplace follows that same concept.  Lean means to maximize customer value while minimizing waste.  In order to become Lean in your organization and stay Lean, you first need to achieve the proper mindset.  Lean was first introduced in the manufacturing arena through the Toyota Production System’s 14 Principles to know.  Ok, you might say, “but we are not really a manufacturing company”.  Lean is not only for the manufacturing floor anymore and we want to focus here on the Lean Office. If you would like to learn more about the Toyota way, read here.

What is meant by LEAN Waste in the office????  Waste is in the DOWNTIME!

  • Defects
  • Over-production
  • Waiting
  • Non-utilized Resources/Talent
  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Excess Processing

The 8 Lean Wastes:

Defects: This is ANY work that was not correct the first time.

  • Order entry errors
  • Late work
  • Invoice errors
  • Lost or misnamed files or records
  • Bad or Missing information
  • Instructions that must be clarified or has insufficient information

Over-production: This is producing more than what the customer wants instead of providing what they need or actually paid for.  

  • Producing reports that no one reads or needs
  • Making extra copies just-in-case
  • Entering repetitive information on multiple documents
  • Memos or email to everyone

Waiting: Waiting for information in order to do work and tends to be the primary cause of multi-tasking.

  • Waiting for a job to be assigned
  • Waiting for approvals or signatures
  • Attendees not all on time for meeting
  • Slow system response time
  • Delays in receiving information
  • Printer or computer break-down

Non-utilized Resources / Talent: People’s skill, abilities, and knowledge are not effectively or appropriately used.

  • Bypassing procedures to hire a favorite candidate
  • Start using software without prior training
  • Not providing opportunity for professional development
  • Limited authority and responsibility for basic tasks
  • Inadequate business tools / training available

Transportation: This is the movement of the work.

  • Moving product in and out of storage
  • No signs identifying areas or departments
  • Multiple hand-offs or approvals
  • Bad area layout
  • Excessive filing of documents

Inventory: Work that is waiting to be processed.  Inventory is also a common result of multi-tasking.

  • Excessive office supplies
  • Files piled up between desks
  • No storage space because its filled with stuff not needed
  • Batch processing transaction & reports
  • Obsolete files or office equipment
  • No sufficient cross-training

Motion: People moving or working without producing any deliverable.

  • Looking and searching for data
  • Searching for files on computer
  • Employees not working to a standard method
  • Poor work area layout
  • Sorting through materials
  • Too many meetings

Excess Processing: Unnecessary effort to get the work done. 

  • Multiple signatures
  • Unused or unnecessary information collected
  • Re-entering data
  • Different software working on same document
  • Expediting
  • Unnecessary or excessive reports
  • Excessive quality review
  • Duplicate Entries

So how do you get started? Focus on areas of rework, overtime, and excessive training and you will soon start to see areas of waste and possible causes. Reach out to the CIPA Team by entering your ideas for improvement here.  We are here to help you be more productive and in turn make CCI an even better place to work!

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