If we are in a Six Sigma state of mind, the word waste needs to be off-limits. It is the kryptonite to us all — we avoid it like the plague! So here are the types of waste we must be on the lookout for under all circumstances.
Defects: When products don’t meet specifications or standards and you must get rid of them. In addition to wasting materials, you’re also wasting your money in production costs as well as time. This doesn’t include the fact that if the product got to the customer, and your customer has to return the item, this would create an unhappy customer. All of the preceding adds up to lost revenue.
Overproduction: Producing in big huge batches isn’t a good idea unless those items have already been sold. Since today’s economy changes so quickly (and so do trends), the products you produced might sit on the shelf for ages. This will take up space, materials you might need for something else, and money spent on products you haven’t sold yet. Excess inventory is always a big waste.
Waiting: Any time there is waiting involved between ending one process and the beginning of another, that is a waste of time. Readjust how the process is conducted so everything runs with a nice flow and without wasting time.
Non-Utilized Talent: The frontline workers are the true heroes, because they recognize process waste since they see it on a daily basis. So instead of the supervisors or leads who don’t do the work making adjustments to the processes, ask those who do. The frontline workers actually know more than most people at the top and are underutilized, and that is a huge waste of money and talent.
Transportation: To eliminate this unnecessary movement of a product or service from one department to another, combine tasks or roles.
Motion: This happens when there is a poorly-designed process, poorly-designed workspace or station, or a situation where tools and equipment must be shared.
Extra Processing: This happens when there are redundancies throughout the production process, procedures, or protocols.