In this blog series, we will describe the Seven Deadly Wastes and their impact on workplace productivity. We will focus on examples to help paint a picture of how each waste affects the office place, in the hopes that you will be able to identify where waste is occurring, and how you might prevent it. Catching waste before it happens will support your lean 5S office efforts while boosting morale and promoting overall workplace efficiency.
This form of waste relates to any movement that is excessive or unnecessary. It can be as small as turning around to reach for a tool or a file, or as extreme as walking from one end of the building to another (multiple times in a day) in order to deliver a document that could be sent electronically. Unnecessary motion can also include looking for files in a far-away location and trips to the copy machine or supply closet. It is often caused by “poor equipment layout or poorly placed supplies” (Fabrizio, 6).
What would you do with an extra 30 minutes every day?
In order to curb this form of waste, you must first pay attention to where it is occurring and whether your activities are adding value. Is there a benefit to having blank paper in the supply closet, or would it behoove you to locate a stack at each printer? Record your findings. Once you have the data, you can begin to look for solutions. Could the printer or supply area be placed more strategically? Do those reference files really deserve to live right next to your desk while other, more common files are stored in a different room?
This image is the layout of a local Realtor’s office. Using a spaghetti diagram as a tool for mapping employee’s motion, we were able to see that the manager is making multiple trips in a day to the shared printer in the main office area. Afterwards, by investing in a small printer for his office, he was able to save a total of two hours per day spent on walking, waiting and unnecessary distractions that occurred outside his office, far outweighing the small initial investment of the printer.
5S workplace organization system is designed to help you discover these areas for improvement and eliminate this waste that is occurring in all forms. As we saw in the case above, often one form of waste segues into another. When we begin on the path to discovering the individual waste, we are often able to identify others along the way.
The Seven Deadly Wastes – which are so egregious as to be considered deadly – are as follows:
- Correction and Rework
- Unnecessary Motion
- Equipment Downtime
- Inventory and Storage
Blog Posts on Each Waste Will Be Published Throughout April and May.
Note: Many of the examples used in this blog series come from Thomas A. Fabrizio and Don Tapping’s fabulous book “5S For the Office”. Please check it out if you would like more information on the subject. It is available for purchase here.