To be “lean” as a company is to find anything that doesn’t add value to our product offerings and eliminate it.
Some experts describe it this way: Find waste and eliminate it. Wasted time, wasted material and wasted motion don’t add value. Thus, it isn’t lean.
Let’s take time, for instance. Do you see places where time is wasted?
If we have 1,300 employees averaging nine hours a day, that amounts to 182 million minutes a year. On one hand, you could say, “That’s a lot of minutes, we won’t miss very much if we waste a little bit.” But, losing 1% of that time amounts to over 30 thousand wasted hours.
We tend to live with wastes of time. We regard them as a necessary evil. Truly, there are some that are hard to avoid but not all wastes of time are equal.
Some of our most significant time wasting can come at the beginning of a shift or as we return from breaks. If we aren’t ready to throw the switch and have everyone start quickly and effectively as we initiate shifts, we have a lot of people sitting around.
So, take a look around. See where the wasted time occurs. Is it necessary? What can be done about it? Where do we start? More important, when do we start?