The 8 Deadly Wastes

1. Transportation

Businesses rely on the constant movement of things in and out to thrive. Wastes happen in transportation with inefficiencies. While shipping has expanded to be global and fast, it comes with many costs. Double-handling is another serious risk of waste as it incurs extra fees and increases risks of shrinkage. Careful planning surrounding shipping can help to ensure that fees and risks to move materials are kept to a minimum. Read More

2. Talent

Employees can be the single greatest asset and most wasted resource in companies. Talent waste isn’t as easily measured as aspects of production like transportation or damages, but as an integral part of each aspect of the process the human factor in your business has amazing impact. Continuous improvement is about reducing barriers so that the talent and ideas of your company have the the platform to be heard. Why pay for an expensive expert to provide ideas that your employees already have? Reducing talent waste involves forming more meaningful relationships with employees and coworkers, and identifying talents that are good fits for their tasks in the hiring and management process. Read More

3. Over Processing

One of the more frequently overlooked wastes in business, over processing involves putting more effort in than needed to achieve the desired output. Not only can over processing be a waste of valuable time, but sometimes it can even be a detriment to progress. Passion is admirable in business, but it needs to be tempered with rationality and efficiency. A key guideline is to consider if any action is actually adding value, and to always look at activity from the customer’s point of view. If something isn’t adding value worth the time put in, consider eliminating or reducing that process in exchange for something that the customer has actual value for. Read More

4. Waiting

Each minute of waiting is a waste of valuable resources. While some times of waiting are unavoidable, most times the minutes tick away with employees waiting for things while the costs of their wages and benefits add up with no work done. Even minutes and seconds accumulate, especially with groups of people waiting. Eliminating waiting entirely may be impossible, but many processes involve moments that have easy solutions that are worth streamlining to reclaim those valuable minutes. Read More

5. Defects

Defects waste money, but also do costly damage to reputations and brands. The process leading to avoidable defects often comes in a pattern that can be easily avoided by taking some extra time to prepare and train properly for the tasks at hand. Processes in your company are cumulative, and so taking the time to attend to training people properly, and then attending to the processes that help catch errors before they are released to the public can drastically reduce avoidable defects and waste. The true cost of a defect comes in lost revenue and time, and the negative effects of word of mouth, bad reviews, and reputational damage. These costs are massive compared to the extra time needed for proper process and proofing. Read More

6. Motion

Motion refers to the movement of people in your business. Motion inefficiencies can include taking too long to get to and from important parts of the office like a printer, to in-person meetings that were unnecessary, to wasting time looking for things put in the wrong place. Consider where trips can be made shorter, how communication can be improved, or searches for things can be eliminated entirely to reduce these wastes of time and effort. Read More

7. Over Production

Business owners thrive off of the careful optimism that anything can always get better. With the ability to overproduce comes the danger of producing too much, inviting the possibility of sitting with too much unneeded product. While some practices favour having available inventory for when the customer wants it available, lean methodology prefers to have products available “just in time” that follows the demands of the customers and not the optimism of the company. Overproduction is a risk in all parts of a business, and isn’t limited to production; consider all of the little ways where materials are wasted daily. Read More

8. Over Inventory

One of the key dangers in over inventory is that it can hide some other deadly wastes. Developing inventory is expensive and ties up cash flow while possibly driving down the value of product, and by extension, your brand. What you produce freezes up your cash until it is sold and runs the risk of costing additional money for storage and transportation. It may even need to be discounted to sell or become obsolete entirely. With such overwhelming wastes and costs involved with an inflated inventory, it gets even harder to identify where other aspects of business and production involve waste. Read More