How does it sound to unleash an army of process engineers in your company? Without a doubt, the results would be astounding!
You may not have an army of engineers on your payroll, but the good news is this: with an understanding of the 8 wastes of Lean you can transform any worker—even teenagers—into a process engineer.
The concept of “waste” is best understood by first understanding the concept of “value.”
Value is whatever the customer wants. A “value-added” activity is therefore any activity that transforms material or information a step closer to what your customer wants.
Unfortunately, experience reveals time and time again that as much as 90% of a process is waste and not value-added. What are these wastes, you ask? Keep reading!
The 8 Wastes
*Side note: the original wastes of Lean were numbered at seven. Non-utilized talent was added later as the 8th waste.
A Trick for Memorization
Training on the 8 wastes is often accompanied by a simple acronym to remember each waste. There are variations on the acronym and names of the wastes. Here are two of the most popular: DOWNTIME and TIMWOODS.
The Benefit of Waste Education
The benefit of educating employees in the 8 wastes is so large because the opportunity for improvement is so big. As mentioned before, as much as 90% of a process typically has wasteful activities, leaving only 10% of value-added activities.
By training an organization to identify waste, this 90% waste can be dramatically reduced. This causes lead times to shorten drastically, and in the end you have a process that is far more efficient, productive, and responsive than before.
See the illustration below for how this is achieved.