Waiting waste is one of the most obvious of the 8 wastes of lean, as it can be fairly easy to spot. Waiting waste is simply people or parts who are waiting in the process, not adding value. Here are a few examples of where you might find waiting waste in your business.
Examples of waiting waste
- Waiting for an answer
- Waiting for information to complete the job
- Waiting for approval
- Waiting for a delivery of parts
- Waiting for a tool that is currently in use
- Waiting for an engineer to fix a machine
- Waiting for a machine to finish a cycle
- Waiting for a bottleneck
- Customers waiting for a response
- Products stuck in work in progress (WIP)
While the product or person is waiting, they are not adding value to the customer. In fact, they are costing the business money if you think of their salary or hourly rate being wasted when waiting. Perhaps even add an additional cost of overtime that they will now need to complete the task, then you will get the true cost of the waiting waste you could be saving.
What causes waiting waste?
So, the first step is complete, you have managed to identify all the waiting waste in your process. What happens next? You must now get to the root cause of the issue behind the waiting, by completing a root cause analysis. Fixing a problem on the surface will almost certainly cause a reoccurrence of the issue, so it is important to drill down and tackle the problem at its root to ensure it does not occur again.
There are some great visual management tools to help teams drill down to the root cause of a problem, using the fishbone and 5 whys technique, as shown in the example below.
As you can see from the example, if the company had simply stopped at the stock rotation issue, the problem would have continued to reoccur.
Here are some classic surface problems that often cause waiting waste:
- Missing information
- Lack of staff
- Over Production
- Poor Communication
- Unreliable suppliers
- Lack of knowledge
The root cause of the problem is usually an unbalanced process. This means one thing is taking longer than another, causing the step before or after to wait.
The solution to your waiting waste.
To rectify unbalance, you must balance your process. This can with TAKT time. Takt translates to ‘rhythm’ in German and is simply that, setting the rhythm, or pace, for your process.
To find out your takt time you need to complete the following equation:
Available production time ÷ The rate of customer demand = The pace of your production flow.
The Takt time is commonly referred to as the heartbeat of the Lean flow.
Standard operating procedures will help to ensure the standards and the production methods are clear so that workers are not waiting for information. This will also help to reduce your defect waste, another of the 8 wastes of lean.
A project manager is somebody who is responsible for the whole project and is key when working in project manufacturing. This helps to ensure that all the information and necessary tools and parts have been gathered before the process begins, which will eliminate any waiting waste. For more information on fixing problems in the project manufacturing process read our blog, ‘Top Problems In Project Manufacturing And The Lean Fix.’
Visual management is key to creating a flow of information between departments. This can help with job allocation, tool storage & stock management. Visual management will also help to flag up any immediate problems early in the process and hold people accountable for ensuring the problems are resolved before it impacts production.
Waiting Waste is the 4th waste in the TIM WOODS 8 waste model and the easiest to spot in the process, but not necessarily the easiest to remove. People or products stuck waiting in the process are no longer adding value to the stream and are instead, wasting resources and money. Removing the waiting waste and creating a Lean flow to your process will ensure to save you money and build efficiency in your production.
ClarityVM Consulting, using visual management to reduce your waiting waste.
Here at ClarityVM Consulting, we coach clients both far and wide about how they can use a Lean program and visual management to achieve their goals, exceed their targets and make financial savings which would otherwise be lost to waste. We work with our clients to create a bespoke strategy that ensures Lean is set up for success before providing specific, high-quality visual management products to sustain the initiative and make Lean work in the organisation long-term.
You can read more about the work we’ve undertaken with our clients by browsing through our Visual Management Case Studies.
Further reading on the Clarity Blog:
- Developing an Effective Standard Operating Procedure
- Assessing Goals and Auditing Strategies
- Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station – Saving Lives With Lean Thinking
- A Visual Management Definition You Can Rely On
- Kaizen Events: Clarity Consulting’s Secret Weapon
- Why Your Workplace Communication Fails (…and How To Improve It)
- Why Lean Programmes Fail
- 6 Simple Solutions to Battle Workplace Stress
- How To Make Your Process Improvements Stick Around
- How To Create A Culture Of Improvement In Your Workplace
- 6 Challenges For Effective Business Leadership
- Our Favourite Lean Quotes…
- Beat Procrastination and get Motivated
- How to improve the morale in your workplace
- Internal Communication: Is It Standing In The Way Of Your Success?