Lean Office

White Space Muda

By Jon Miller Published on March 26th, 2007

I heard a story about a Toyota employee. This was years ago when Toyota Motor Sales merged with Toyota Motor Company to form Toyota Motor Corporation. The employee from Motor Sales asked for paper to write a report. A woman in the office gave him one sheet of paper. “If you need another piece, please come to get it.” She told him. That must have been a bit of a culture shock.
This is another example of the Toyota habit of driving out waste. Paper was issued one-piece flow, on demand, rather than in notebooks. This was back in the days when ink met paper through a pen. There wasn’t a lot of typing done and stored in digital files.
Another moral to the story is the one-page report, often called A3 or even A4 because of the paper size. If you can’t summarize it in one page, you haven’t thought it through, or you are wasting words.
I printed out a skill matrix format today to show several people in our office for the purpose of review. Then I recycled it. I would venture to say that less than 1/200th of the page had ink on it. It made me think of this story. White space muda.

  1. allen

    March 27, 2007 - 11:47 pm

    dear sir:
    gr8 to read ur sharing..i am a student in HR and gonna join OD dept of a logistics firm. I would like to learn more about skill matrix. If u dont mind pls suggest me some places where i can find info.
    thnx in advance

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