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Business Process Improvement

Some improvement ideas under the heading Attacking waste - Material

If you want know what material goes to waste, speak to the group that dispose your waste.

1. Review process waste, determine cause and whether it can be better managed

In a manufacturing environment there may well be a legitimate reason for the waste material so consider whether it can be recycled or sold to an organisation that can make use of it. Examine ways of reducing waste by the way material is handled, stored, issued, stored during use and consumed by the process. In a service process waste may be the excessive use of hardcopy, printing consumables, etc and many so-called service industries do in fact consume materials in the delivery of their service, e.g. travel, hospitality or health to name a few.

For Further reading refer to The Seven Wastes - Originally developed by Toyota’s Chief Engineer, Taiichi Ohno

1. Overproduction

2. Waiting

3. Transporting

4. Inappropriate processing

5. Unnecessary inventory

6. Unnecessary motions

7. Defects

2. Consider using the 5 S’s to reduce waste and time spent retrieving data or materials

The 5 S’s are often considered to be no more than a good housekeeping set of rules developed by the Japanese and partly responsible for the recovery of the Japanese economy during the fifties and sixties. If implemented properly the 5 S’s should result in a culture that prizes efficiency, orderliness and the ability to find / retrieve every item of inventory either physical or electronic.

The 5 S’s have been translated into the English language as

Sort; sort was is usable from that which is not usable

Set in order; locate tools, materials, facilities intelligently, i.e. frequently used close to work area, less frequently used not so close

Sweep clean; maintain a clean work environment

Standardisation; maintain a set of visual and non-visual 5 S rules

Self-discipline; honour this set or rules

It should be noted that in Europe the 5 S are often referred to as the 6 S - Safety has been added as the sixth S.