Lean Office

16 More Ways to See Motion Waste when Standing in the Circle

By Jon Miller Published on January 21st, 2008

The stand in the circle activity is a great way to train your eyes to see waste on your gemba. Finding 30 small kaizen ideas in 30 minutes, and rapidly implementing at least one of those ideas is a practical and scalable way of teaching the kaizen mindset. But what about when you need to wring out the last few seconds of manual work to balance cycle time to takt time? After standing and watching an operator work for an hour, you may run out of ideas. In this case what you need are more ways to find the muda in manual work.
The seven types of waste are overproduction, transportation, motion, inventory, defects, processing and waiting. Motion waste is particularly important to improving safety, quality and also productivity. It helps to know what to look for when observing manual work. If you are a trained industrial engineer or have some background in MTM or other techniques of prescribing times to motions, it will of course be quicker to design or redesign the process properly from the start. However in nature even the best designed processes tend to fall apart and change over time. We need to give everyone 20 more ways to find the muda in manual work. Here are 16:
1. Stopping
2. Empty walking
3. Stepping backwards
4. Taking a half step or hesitating
5. Searching for something
6. Choosing
7. Verifying
8. Aiming for the right spot
Hands or arms:
9. Holding something that should be in a jig
10. Repositioning item in hand
11. One hand idle
12. Moving arms out of the strike zone
13. Turning
14. Bending down
15. Stretching
16. Putting tension on something by pulling or leaning back
You can practice on this fellow and find quite a few of these 16 big obvious types of motion waste. Try it the next time you are in a cafe, at a hotel check in desk, or receiving your goods form a hot dog vendor. Developing the eye to spot these will surely help you improve safety, quality and productivity on your gemba.

  1. Joe Molesky

    January 24, 2008 - 1:43 pm

    GREAT TIPS! I am always looking for examples to share with team members when leading a team. The examples that you line out here make small wastes come to life. It took me ten minutes to read through your short article due to the fact that I was day dreaming about opportunity on the floor. COOL STUFF!

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