Tired of The Workplace Waiting Game?

Written by  Published in Lean Office

Understanding and ruthlessly eliminating muda, i.e.," waste" is a key concept in Lean Office Methodology. In this series we are highlighting 7 forms of "muda" or waste common to the office. The first letter of each of these wastes form a mnemonic, in this case a "name"; Tim Wood. Today we will focus on the "W" in Wood and take a look at "Waiting" in Lean Office nomenclature.

Before you read any further, stop and think for a moment; who, what, why, where and how have you waited today? Really; stop for just one minute and jot down a few responses. If you think you haven't had to wait, please think again.

Perhaps it was waiting for the coffee to brew, the toaster to toast, the microwave to heat. Did you wait at a traffic light or for a driver who slowed you down on the way to work? At work; did you wait for an elevator, your computer or printer to boot-up, a program to load and launch on your computer, your phone, or did you wait in a meeting room for a meeting that started late? Will you wait in line for lunch?

Whether it be waiting in meetings, for up line (or down line) information to move your way, equipment downtime, (often due to poor maintenance or poor planning), a copier process which is impeded or stalled resulting in idle time and work stoppage, rebooting a PC., slow computer speed, shifting through duplicate files, un-purged email files, caching issues, printers or copiers running out of ink, toner or paper, data transfer speeds, signatures, approvals or whatever it is that results in waiting before a next step in a process can be completed – that my friend is WASTE. In a nutshell; waste is idle time created when material, information, people or equipment is not ready.

Waste is ubiquitous, found far and wide, and, think of the implications in terms of lost productivity time! Let's focus on the positive; if you set a goal to find and eliminate 5 minutes of waste each day, by the end of one year you will have recaptured just under 27 hours of productivity time. Remember, everything is a process and every process can be improved. What process will you start with?

Photo Credit: Some rights reserved by Alan Cleaver

Last modified on Friday, 22 February 2013 21:03
Tracy Parks

Tracy Parks Principal and Founder of Simplicated, LLC is a gifted, engaging and enthusiastic leader, speaker, and experienced trainer, passionate about developing and delivering innovative and practical training and imparting skill development to help business professionals create a productive environment to accomplish their work and enjoy their lives.

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