I was recently preparing a presentation for an upcoming conference and I chose the topic of the Waste Walk. As I created the presentation, I realized we don’t hear a lot about this process and thought I’d share it with you.
The concept is to go to an area of your operation and observe. It is a great oxymoron as you don’t walk, you actually stand in one place! I use this process to introduce clients to Lean and its benefits. It has yet to fail in making an eye-opening impact on leaders showing, even in well run organizations, opportunity for improvement exists. I typically have leaders observe and look for the 8 Wastes for about a half hour. In this short time, the wastes identified typically average between 15 and 30 wastes! These observations create the opportunity to reduce or eliminate those wastes, improving performance. Some are simple “quick hits” that can, and should, be implemented immediately. Others highlight the need for a full Kaizen event.
When utilized, this approach can be a great beginning to launching your first Lean efforts or a great way to keep the funnel of ideas and opportunities flowing to sustain what is already started.