By definition this is the movement of materials that adds no value to the product. In most cases, transportation waste is thought of as normal in a manufacturing environment. However, it is also evident in an office environment. For example, walking around to get signatures on documents. The excessive filing also leads to the waste of transportation since those files need to be moved from time to time.
Over processing occurs anytime more resources are used than truly needed to satisfy customers. Unfortunately, over-processing is one of the most difficult wastes to accurately identify and assess, making it rampant in many organizations.
While inventory is often thought of as an asset, being one of the 7 wastes suggests that may be wrong-headed. In fact, as a waste, inventory can actually represent tremendous loss. Not only can inventory cost 40 percent or more of its direct cost to carry, it ties up precious cash that could better be used elsewhere in the business. A simple definition of the waste of inventory is any on-hand material other than what is needed right now to satisfy customer demand. Inventory can be categorized in various ways.
The fourth step in the lean 5S (6S) process is seiketsu, or standardized. Standardize is fundamentally about establishing clear, unambiguous norms for people to perform. Standards are a prerequisite for continuous improvement. As Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System (TPS) put it, “Where there is no standard, there can be no improvement.”
Seiso is the third step the lean 5S process. Seiso translates from Japanese as “sweep” or “shine”. However, this translation often contributes to the superficial interpretation that sweeping or shining only relates to making areas subjectively clean or hygienic.
Sorting is a powerful part of the lean 5S process. Sorting is also one of the most misunderstood of the 5S steps. Sorting empowers continuous improvement by eliminating items from work areas lacking use or value. Sorting can improve safety, workflow, and throughput.
5S is a simple, intuitive, powerful method that can be applied to any workplace or industry from equipment manufacturing to legal services. While 5S creates orderly workplaces it’s far more than simple cleaning or housekeeping. 5S drives continuous improvement in workplaces by systematically exposing waste, making abnormalities visible, and prompting change for the better.
Lean is a collection of operational concepts, frameworks, and approaches for driving continuous improvement in organizations. Lean accompishes this through relentlessly focusing on maximizing customer value while minimizing the 8 wastes, such as inventory.
The tools of lean, six sigma and other improvement methodologies are vital for continuous improvement. However, if you can’t inspire, motivate, and lead others, then it’s useless to be excellent at value stream mapping or design of experiments. Follow these 10 commandments of lean to keep your team aligned and on your lean journey.