Thursday, October 18, 2007

8 Wastes in The office

Being able to identify the waste present in a process is a key to any improvement effort. Below is the traditional definition of the 7 wastes (8 actually if you include the wasted talent).
N-on used People
E-xcess processing
But what are some examples of this in the office environment. Let's take a closer look to this:
- Defects
Incomplete information, business cases without the proper supporting information, etc.
- Overproduction
Reports ( same info on Multiple reports, reports not read, excess data entry, PowerPoint presentations.
- Waiting
Signatures, returned phone calls, on-time arrivals (meetings).
- Non Used People
People working on the same thing, people used as machines, no improvements.
- Transportation
Documents going from desk to desk, from system to system
- Inventory
Too many supplies, to many orders, POs, emails
- Motion
Walking to the printer, fax, searching for paper, people of information, sorting papers, orders, invoices, etc
- Excess Processing
Signature collection, emails bouncing around, interruptions, electronic copies and hardcopies, re-reading emails, Multiple log-ins, passwords.
It is difficult of being able to see this waste in office processes, because in the offices most of the times we are dealing with information, rather than with physical products.
The nature of the processes that we have in an office environment makes also very difficult that we can easily identify what activities are waste (or Non-value added activities).
In the office the processes are either CREATIVE processes or TRANSACTIONAL and in order to see the waste within these type of processes you have to be in a different set of mind, away from the traditional thinking of physical processes.

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