In Deadly Waste lingo, “transportation” refers to the movement of materials and “motion” refers to the movement of people. My fingers are in motion right now, and when I print this off I’ll be in motion to the printer, which is 3 steps away. I bought it because I print a lot and the nearest printer was about 20 steps away. Printing documents meant changing rooms, being chatted at, and usually losing my focus by the time I sat back down.
Going to meetings can be a big waste of motion. While face to face meetings are important sometimes, sending our staff out on too many of them leads to excessive time in transit and waiting around in other workplaces. Before sending people out to meetings, think about if it’s necessary for them to go or if it can be done over video conferencing.
Everything Has a Home
How much time do you waste looking for things? From staplers to front end loaders, if a piece of equipment is moved and not put back (or if it didn’t have a home in the first place), it leads to inevitable wasted motion and morale-killing frustration.
Have a home for commonly used items and make it clear to people that anyone who takes things must put it back. If someone uses an item a lot, consider getting them one of their own so that he or she always knows where it is.
Knowing where everything is includes you, too. When you leave the building, especially if you won’t be near your phone, tell someone central.
Running around looking for the boss is a frustrating endeavor that wastes time and energy.
If you want to delve deeper into workstation organization, research “5S” to learn more about how to keep the world around your workspace clean, clutter free, and organized.
Grab a piece of paper; make it a big one. Sketch out your immediate work area, whether that’s an office or retail counter. Include as many places where you travel in an average day as possible.
Keep that paper nearby and, every time you go somewhere, draw a line. A line to the coffee machine, to the stockroom, to go find a hammer.
Using a wavy line for distances off the paper, draw all your workplace movements for the day.
Looking at your paper, ask yourself where you went the most. Could that trip be made a little shorter? Ask yourself which trips were useful and which weren’t.
Could that 10 minute hunt for the hammer have been avoided if the hammer had a proper home?