When we think about
waste in environmental and industrial terms, it’s often something that’s
Physical waste can exist in processes, but this is only a very small
part of it.
The key identifying wasteful activity, which we define as “activity
that adds no value to the customer”, is to start looking at waste from a
different perspective, that of the process customer.
The worst and most
insidious waste is that which we cannot see.
So, when you
critically look at your business processes, you need to look at what the
customer requires and eliminate every step that does not contribute towards
what the customer needs. Some common examples to consider:
How often do you need to move
things around between workstations during the process?
levels of inventory really necessary? What are they costing you in terms of
storage, identification, location and transportation? Could you reduce your
stocks and still provide excellent customer service?
How difficult is it for your
staff to get the next necessary item, piece of information or equipment to do
the value adding w
Look at your process and ask yourself, “are we creating
delays for our customers because we have an in‐built delay between value adding
We often create work for ourselves, so it is always worth
asking, “is this activity absolutely necessary or is there a better way to get
the job done?”
You could be doing more than your customers require,
making too much, making things ‘just‐in‐case’, working ahead of schedule and
writing reports that no one reads.
What’s the failure rate in the
process? What are the root causes of failure? What could you do to make the
most positive impact?
Do you have the right people on the job or do you, for
example, continually use a higher skilled person on low skilled work?
“process customer need perspective” will help you to identify waste you might
not otherwise see. Identifying and eliminating waste through the use of a Rapid
Improvement Event can bring additional benefits by greatly compressing the
lead‐time in adopting improved processes and dramatically improving the quality
of the solution. The benefits of taking this approach can be considerable, even
in businesses that on the face of it look very efficient.
examples from client projects we have worked on are listed below and show the
scale of benefit that can be achieved.
1. Turnaround time for laboratory analysis reduced by over
2. Productivity improved by 15% in documentation area
3. Service Level Agreement improvement from 48 hrs to 24 hrs
4. Reduction of in process queries by 66%
About Six Sigma Group - Six
Sigma Group is a major provider of Six Sigma training and Business Process Improvement
consultancy services, that have the capacity to deliver significant, measurable
savings for our clients.
Group is part of Bourton Group LLP. Bourton Group LLP provide performance
improvement and change management consultancy services across a range of
sectors and industries.
+ 44 (0) 1926 632888