In previous posts on how to implement lean manufacturing I have been discussing the seven wastes, as in all lists it is necessary to add one or two after the original number. So in the tradition of the forth part of a trilogy and the 102nd of the 101 ways I will present to you the eighth of the seven wastes – and maybe even throw in the 9th and 10th.
Generally accepted as being the eighth waste is that of the waste of Human Talent, not using all that your wonderful staff can contribute to your business. How many businesses neglect to ask their employees how to improve the business, after all what would they know? They have only worked there for the last generation or two between them and have seen every up and down that the business has to offer as well as their life time experience – what would they know?
Well, they probably know a lot more than you! Combine all of their thinking power and they will know an awful lot more than you – so use them. It does not matter what business improvement technique you look at, it will talk about team building and using your biggest asset, that of your people, don’t neglect them, you do so at your own peril.
Not only can involving them help you to find quick and often simple ideas to improve your business but the mere act of involving them will make them feel like a far more important part of your business. Don’t you want your staff to be highly motivated and working for the benefit of the business, or would you rather they hung their brains next to their coats when they clock in?
From quality circles to employee councils or just simple suggestion schemes companies need to use their people, this is how to implement lean manufacturing. Who knows best what really works in your business, it is the people doing the actual work!
To top up the list of wastes in today’s climate of being environmentaly friendly, we can also include the waste of Energy and the waste of By-Products.
The waste of energy being exactly as it sounds, forgetting to switch off all the lights and machines when everyone leaves for the weekend is a fairly obvious example of this waste. It costs us money at zero benefit to the business, so why do it, and why do we do the same at home also? But also look into more depth into your processes, can you replace some of your equipment with more efficient versions? Are there motors and pumps out there that use less energy for the work being done? Maybe more expensive initially but working out much cheaper over time when you add in their lifecycle costs.
The waste of By-Products, can you use your “waste”? The little offcuts and sawdust from your furniture business; how can you utilize them? Or would you rather pay to have it all taken away and sent to landfill? Could you burn it and heat your factory, or even generate your own electricity? I know of more than one company that does exactly this, one that actually generated more energy than it consumes and sells it back to the grid. What could you do with your by-products?
Well if you are learning how to implement lean manufacturing and you have been reading about the seven wastes here and can think of some additional wastes to add to the list feel free to leave a comment. Use this link for a full list of wastes for waste reduction.