What do you think of when you hear the word waste?

There are certainly a bunch of different images that could come to mind. For whatever reason, for me, the image of food on a plate that wasn’t finished seems to come to the surface.

Maybe that’s because as kids it was ironed into us that we better finish everything on our plates so that we don’t waste food.

And then as parents we grab that baton and continue the tradition with our own kids.

It could be the kid who asks for a huge serving and then barely touches it. Or the one who is battling to the end to win the fight against the evil broccoli cheddar soup… remind me to tell that story one day.

There’s really only one food that I’m OK wasting. Liver.

Yep, that slimy, foul-smelling cooked organ… that somehow my father-in-law loved. I’ve never understood that.

But for anyone else, if I served that onto your plate you are more than welcome to immediately walk over and scrape it into the garbage. Yuck. Even mentioning the word makes my stomach churn.

There are, of course, lots of other images that come to mind when we think of waste. I’m sure you can think of several within your business that you could list off right now.

And when we’re talking about work, elimination¬†of waste truly is at the heart of becoming more efficient and doing more with what you have.

In the manufacturing world, there is a popular system of thinking known as Lean Manufacturing. There is a lot to it (and we’ll be digging into many of the aspects of it in future episodes), but at its heart is the concept of seeking to eliminate waste… in all of its forms.

Now, it’s that last part that has been interesting to me, working to implement Lean Manufacturing concepts for years. Because in manufacturing they have identified eight main areas of waste.

Each business is different and yours will be different from so many others.

But digging into these eight types is an exercise that will uncover waste that you didn’t even know existed. Waste that you wouldn’t have even classified as waste.

So, here are the eight types of waste:
– Defects (product or service that doesn’t meet customer expectations)
– Overproduction (making more than customer demand)
– Waiting (could be in a process or anywhere)
– Unused Talent (so much untapped potential here)
– Transportation (moving products unnecesarily)
– Motion (unecessary movement by people)
– Inventory (excess that isn’t processed)
– Extra Processing (more work or higher quality than needed)

We’ll go deeper into these later, but each is a way to help you look at your business with a different lens and spot the wastes hiding in the shadows. So often, the issue is maybe just misindentification. Waste that went undetected or was seen as necessary or just the way things are.

One warning about Lean thinking and implementation: it is not for the faint of heart. If you really want to dig into these ideas and let them bring change to your company, toes will be stepped on, feelings possibly hurt, long-held ideas and systems challenged.

But in the end, you’ll be better for it and can become more trimmed down and able to withstand the storms and grow in the process.

As for withstanding a plate of liver…. that might take a much bigger effort. Good luck with that one.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode.

I can’t wait to connect with you again tomorrow