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- Essence of Toyota’s KAIZEN (Continuous Improvement): The 7 Wastes and the PDCA Cycle
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Lean Six Sigma Version – The 7 Wastes
Hi, this is Mike Negami, Lean Sigma, Black Belt.
I’ve mentioned a little bit about ‘The 7 Wastes’ of Toyota in the last episode.
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I would like to talk about it a bit more today. Lean Sigma people here in the US memorize it as DOWNTIME. This acronym consists of the initials of each waste. Since this is easy to remember, I’ll discuss it in this order.
D is for ‘Defects’, which is waste that makes defects.
O is for ‘Overproduction’, which is waste that produces too much.
W is for ‘Waiting’, which is waste of time to wait for something.
N for ‘Non-value adding processing’.
T is for ‘Transportation’, which is waste of transportation.
I is for ‘Inventory’, which is waste of inventory. Lastly,
M is for ‘Motion’, which is waste of motion.
Apply this 7 Wastes for process improvement in service operations.
Toyota and Lean Sigma are saying that these should all be as close to zero as possible. If you are not in manufacturing, you may say “Since my job is not manufacturing, I’ve got nothing to do with the 7 wastes.” That’s not true. For example, ‘Inventory’ is not only about raw materials inventory, but also merchandise inventory in stores. Office supplies can be inventory as well.
Didn’t you have any experience that you couldn’t go to the next step because of waiting for some document or information? You may have direct reports wasting their time because they don’t have a printer or scanner nearby. The 7 Wastes is totally common practice in the manufacturing industry, but please try to apply this to your non-manufacturing processes.
I talked about the value-added and non-value added analysis in an earlier episode. Those 7 wastes are all non-value added works. Please re-verify all steps of your process in the value-added and non-value added analysis by applying the 7 Waste concept as well. I think the name of DOWNTIME is interesting because if you have too many of the 7 wastes, your process will become DOWNTIME.
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The last letter of DOWNTIME: ‘Employees Unused Creativity’
The last letter of DOWNTIME has not been explained yet. E is for ‘Employees Unused Creativity’. Yes it is wasteful if you don’t use your employees’ full potential for creativity. Here’s a Black Belt’s chance to show their skills. Basically we as Black Belts do not know about the target process well. So when designing a new process, we have to depend on the process’s front people to come up with solution ideas.
In my experience, many times solutions start from the words like “Until now, I was thinking that we should do this way.” I had many occasions to have found a solution by considering whether there are any company resources that haven’t been utilized effectively not only employees, but also among any other people, objects and information.
Front line people including their managers are really busy every day in their day-to-day operations. It might be quite difficult to be aware of the 8th waste. That’s all the more reason to consider that DOWNTIME is very meaningful. Please use it in your business.
I’ve now completed this episode ‘The 7 (+1) Wastes = DOWNTIME’. Thank you for viewing. If you like my videos, please click the Subscribe button. Thanks.
<< Mike’s Comment >>
Since I started this video series, I have re-visited the power and potential of Lean Sigma, even in its most basic form.
On the other hand, (as I’ve mentioned few times), I’m still pretty much surprised about learning that Lean Sigma is still not well known in Japan.
Lean (Toyota Production System) and Six Sigma (as a statistical quality control technique) are both the specialty of Japan and the Japanese manufacturing industry is still the best in the world in quality.
Therefore, Japanese companies are probably not interested in the combination of Lean and Six Sigma in the manufacturing industry, even though they may be told “Lean Sigma is very popular globally.”
However, Lean Sigma has also been growing in non-manufacturing industries globally, as well. In my opinion, one of the reasons for that is because of the eight wastes that are discussed in this episode.
Because of those, Lean Sigma applications have been widened to non-manufacturing areas. So, what is the eighth waste? Please watch the video to learn more.