A common flaw in business is dealing with the symptoms of a problem rather than addressing the root cause. In today’s fast-paced environment, it can often seem easier to address the trivial many (which require less time) than to invest the time necessary to mitigate the significant few. Major obstacles and challenges are often shuffled to the side, preventing effective change.
The first step in the business improvement process is identifying your key issues. We've developed the Business Waste Diagnostic as a tool to help you identify and quantify the amount of waste in your business in seven key areas:
- Overproduction: Considered the most important waste, this can cause a disruption in the regular flow of goods or services and can result from doing or making more than is required.
- Waiting: When a product or service has to wait for generation of additional value, it is critical to identify the bottleneck or weak link in the process.
- Transport: Moving around or not flowing in a straight line, whether in your facility or in the shipping/delivery process, increases the probability of damage or additional waste.
- Inappropriate processing: More isn't always better. Having the biggest and best machines or resources, or misapplying internal resources and skill sets, can be like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
- Inventory: Inventory waste can lead to high overhead costs per unit or service or low sales volume per full time equivalent.
- Motion: Poor ergonomics - improperly fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population - can lead to low productivity and increased occupational health and safety issues.
- Defects: Products or services with quality defects can increase the amount of errors, reworks, and returns. It is critical to identify consistent or common causes of defects.