So, there is something that drives me crazy. I’ll admit it.
It’s when I’m doing something in the kitchen and I find myself getting back to the counter from the fridge only to realize that I forgot to grab something when I was there.
So I go back to the fridge, get the thing, and then get back to the counter and shake my head because I also forgot that other thing from the pantry right next to the fridge.
So, it’s back to the pantry, back to the counter, back to the fridge… on and on.
I think it’s the inefficiency that kills me. The thought that I just wasted that time and movement when I could have cut out some steps.
And the same thing happens every day in businesses across the world.
Today, we’re going to look at the Waste of Excess Motion.
In episode 13, we introduced the concept of the 8 Wastes, a Lean Manufacturing idea that splits up the different kinds of wastes in our organizations into eight specific areas.
The waste of motion is a biggie because when your processes are causing your people to move more than they need to to accomplish a task, not only is it taking extra time but it’s also sometimes taking up more floor space and adding excess movement as well.
Each of those ultimately take small bites out of your productivity that add up over time and attack your bottom line.
So, what are some ways you can start to reduce this waste of motion?
Before I answer, let me say that there are both physical applications to this as well as electronic.
Let’s start with the physical.
Take a look at a physical workspace or process in your business. Think about anywhere where people have to move in some way to accomplish a task.
Maybe you have people manually assembling parts. Look at the layout of their work center and see if there is a way you could rearrange their machines or their stations to cut down on their motion. Could you move things closer or change the order of operations to help them be able to batch more of their movements?
Or maybe there are processes in your organization that require you or someone else to walk farther than is needed. Could you rearrange office layouts or change procedures to eliminate the need to deliver papers around? Could a call or slack message take the place of an in-person visit? What if your team member could take better pictures or visually communicate an issue to save a meeting or visit?
Now think about your own physical office and desk. Could you rearrange files or items on your desk to reduce your motion? Could you move those post-its or pens, your files or reference sheets?
And finally (and we may certainly revisit this one later), what about your computer. Your desktop, file system, email folders and emails? We may only be talking about your mouse moving and clicking and not so much physical movement, but there could honestly be more wasted here than anywhere. Hunting for files or emails. Excess clicks or moves because structure could be improved. More automation and intuitive files like… you know… your Excel files (shawnwashburn.com/excel).
If you don’t do anything else today related to all of this, at least try to put on your “wasted motion” glasses and let yourself see everyday activities in this new light.
Then make it a goal to try to attack just one area this week. Then one next week. Etc. And you’ll start to see that you’ll gain momentum and see some really improvements in your productivity and efficiency.
Thanks for listening to today’s episode. You can shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.