In Part 1 of this series we discussed the fact that every process has non-value added activities as part of the process. They are there because we have not looked for them and in order to be part of the solution we need to begin to look at our organization with the sole purpose in mind to locate, identify and remove the obstacles to us operating our organizations faster, better and cheaper.
If we talk to many of those who operate in the quality space they will identify nine specific types of wastes that occur in every organization. Part 2 will examine the first three of these waste definitions,
Waste or Muda #1: Transportation
Typically when we think of transportation we are concerned with moving people or materials from one place to another. In this case we are more concerned with the movement within your organization. Take a look around your office space or if you are in manufacturing look at your shop floor. Where does an employee have to go to get their required materials to complete a task? Can they turn around and pick up the item or do they need to go across the building to get what they need? Do you move the same piece of equipment multiple times to get it to where it is needed? Do you meet the needs of your customers or do you get a request for some data and what you send the client far exceeds what they asked for?
Waste or Muda #2: Inventory
We as humans and organizations have a tendency to think that we are pack rats. We consistently order what we think we will need for a specific time period even if we know we are more than likely going to change to a different form or model in a short period of time. You create a new form and instead of ordering what the process tells you will be needed for say 6 months, you order two years worth of forms. When you change the form the excess gets added to the trash. You maintain on hand permanent job requisitions for every position within the organization whether a hiring manager tells you it is needed or not.I know we don’t need that job requisition now but we MAY at some time in the future. Your hiring manager calls you and tells you he needs a critical position filled within 3 days and due to department processes the recruiter does not get the position request for 48 hours. What happened to the voice of the customer?
Waste or Muda #3: Motion
Ever take a pedometer to work and see how far you walk in a day? How many steps do you take that repeat previous steps in order to complete a task? You are given an assignment to produce a report for senior management and in order to get it to the right place nine sets of hands touch the document instead of sending it directly to the manager who requested the report in the first place. I have a friend whose employer moved her desk from the second floor to the first. No big deal right. However they left all of her files on the second floor. By the time she walks the entire length of the building, goes up to the second floor and retrieves the file that is needed and returns to her desk, the organization has lost 25 minutes of productivity. If she makes that trip four times a day, the organization has lost the equivalent of 433 man hours per year. If we assume that she is being paid $15.00 per hour, that lost productivity has cost the organization almost $7000 annually in lost productive activities. Another common occurrence, in this area is the scenario where the management asks for a report and the HR staff throws all the numbers together and for what ever reason the report never leaves your department – the manager says after you complete the report that they don’t need it after all or for some reason they report never gets delivered to the client.
These categories of waste and the others to follow, add costs to your operations, They jeopardize the future of your organization. What is obvious when you begin to explore these wastes is that they have been there all along, you just did not see them. Really look at these types of wastes and see how many of them exist in your organization and the affect on the organization because of them.
Part 3 and 4 will look at the remainder of the Muda types and what they do to the organization. Part 4 will return to this area and look at solutions for removing wastes from your HR process and the organization as a whole.