Identify Opportunities to Eliminate Wasted Motion

Along with wasted time and material, wasted motion is a key target for lean operations.

The work done in our plants of building pallets and fence, sawing wood and operating lifts and loaders is demanding. When the day is done, our teammates have handled thousands of pounds of material, driven thousands of nails and moved many thousands of feet of material.

It makes sense to look at how we do things and cut down on wasted motion.

You may not know this, but I’m a bit of a klutz. When it comes to figuring out a way to perform a physical task, I choose the least effective way to do it. Every time. Without fail.

My clumsiness is a fascination to those of you who are more gifted with dexterity. You watch me, shaking your head at how inept I am. Then, you show me a better way.

Some folks are wired to see the best way to do things. Many are not.

We need to have those of you who are gifted at building efficiency to constantly review the way we do our tasks and make modifications. We also need those of you gifted at this to work to teach the less gifted how to move about.

Wasted, awkward motion causes more physical strain than necessary. Finding ways to position our bodies and to limit bending and lifting limits the risk of injuries.

Wasted motion can cause bottlenecks.

Wasted motion with our forklifts and trucks add costs as we use more fuel and run longer hours.

In lean, we encourage folks to stop and really see what is happening. Then to ask why the thing that is happening can’t be done a better way.

Whether it is material, time or motion, you’re in a unique spot to identify opportunities to add value by eliminating waste. Thank you for your efforts. Let’s keep making progress.

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