Doug, a reader of LSS Academy and Gemba Academy subscriber sent me the following question. I have some opinions but am very interested in what you all think of Doug’s question.
Here is what Doug sent.
Does a dishwasher really save time vs hand washing and drying dishes right away?
It would seem there is quite a lot more waste such as motion and transportation (running water over plates that you know the dishwasher will have trouble getting off, putting dishes in dishwasher, adjusting other dishes in order to get the best fit before running it, taking it out when complete, checking to make sure they are completely dry and are clean), defects (dishes not dry or still dirty), waiting (the dish or utensil you need is still in the dishwasher since the dishwasher is not full enough to run).
My wife and I discuss this at times and wonder if we are kidding ourselves because in the long run we are wasting more time with the above and a dishwasher creates inventory to cover up process problems (handwashing and drying dishes). When I think of the 3 elements that make up value-added work, I think of the following with regards to a dishwasher:
- Is the customer willing to pay for it? Yes, we are willing to pay for clean dishes but not for the waiting time until they are washed
- Does it change in form, function, fit? Not if the dishwasher is not full.
- Does it get done right the first time? Only if they are all dry and completely clean.
I know this might be an off the wall question, but I believe we often kid ourselves in what we do in our lives that we are saving time, etc. Lean is more than a business initiative.
So what do you think? Are dishwashers lean? If not, are you willing to remove yours from your kitchen?