Corporate Waste Reduction in the 21st Century Can Benefit From Lean Practices
In lean times managers look for ways to eliminate waste. In her newly published blog, “Lean Processes and Downtime,” time management and productivity expert Laura Stack offers new advice for waste reduction solutions.
The concept of waste reduction is nothing new in American business tradition, Stack says, but finding solutions in the plants and offices of the 19th and 20th century was a different challenge than managers and business owners face today. Still, some language of lean manufacturing remains the same -- anything that doesn’t increase value in the eye of the customer must be considered waste, and every effort should be made to eliminate that waste.
“In recent years, businesses of all types have begun to implement lean processes, often simply referred to as “Lean,” Stack says. “Today, eight forms of waste have been defined and targeted: seven from the original business transaction processing system (TPS), and one added by American experts as the concept became more obvious to [and accepted by] mainstream business.”
In her bog, Stack identifies the eight forms of waste – defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized (or under- utilized) staff talent, transportation, inventory, motion and excess processing. Utilizing her trademark acronym approach to complex business and time management theories, Stack sums it up in one word: DOWNTIME.
“Numerous acronyms for these eight wastes have been proposed as memory aids,” Stack says. “But the one that seems to have caught on best is DOWNTIME.
Stack dissects each form of corporate waste individually and describes how the systematic elimination of these wastes can result in improved productivity and an increased bottom line.
“Faster processes, lower costs, higher quality, happier workers and, most importantly, happier customers are what businesses need to be aiming for in order to reel in waste and establish common-sense efforts ,” Stack says. “Simplifying processes, repairing physical layouts, handling products less often, and reducing the distance between steps or often obvious fixes with immediate measurable results.
“In an office situation, simply providing enough printers and other equipment for everyone can limit transportation waste,” Stack says. “Eliminate as many meetings as you can, do everything you can to shrink processes without sacrificing quality; your only option is to closely examine your processes and fix them.”
By recognizing and understanding the problems unique to each individual business, corrective waste reduction measures are going to have the best chance of working.
“Being human, we’ll never eliminate waste completely; but an organization that can trim away most of the fat will be more agile and more capable of competing in any marketplace,”
To find out more about waste reduction and productivity, visit TheProductivityPro.com, send an Email to Laura@TheProductivityPro.com, or call (303) 471-7401.
About Laura Stack:
Laura Stack is a time management and productivity expert who has been speaking and writing about human potential and peak performance since 1992. She has implemented employee productivity improvement programs at Wal-Mart, Cisco Systems, UBS,
Aramark, and Bank of America. Stack presents keynotes and seminars internationally for leaders, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and professional services firms on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in the workplace.
The president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management firm specializing in high-stress environments, Stack is the bestselling author of five books:
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