Taking a Waste Walk
With the new year upon us posts regarding health are widespread. Resolutions have begun, talk of parking further away and staying in the green aisles of the grocery store seem to whisper to our ears on every social media channel known to humans. Well this post will do the same. If you're looking to grab a few extra steps during your day, strap on the fitbit and let's head on out for a "waste walk."
What is a waste walk?
The waste walk is one of the best ways to train employees, reveal waste and discover opportunities to improve. Simply put it is a time where teams or individual's head to the gemba and look for waste. The waste walk can be a standard activity, planned event or a now and then practice. The only thing that is required for people to have during a waste walk is a basic understanding of the 8 forms of waste.
How to Perform a Waste Walk:
Before you can begin your waste walk you need to make sure that everyone is aware and understands the 8 forms of waste. A few ways that you can help people understand waste might be:
2. Once everyone has a good understanding of the 8 forms of waste you may want to consider establishing a standard time for activities such as waste walks to be performed. Setting a standard time will allow teams and individuals to plan for their waste walk. It will also help people to understand the importance of going to the gemba regularly. Along with establishing a standard time it can be very helpful to develop a spaghetti graph or a roadmap that charts the waste walk out. This will help you focus and can also be used on specific value streams or areas.
3. While you walk the area/value stream look for as many forms of waste as you can. Take a moment to write down every form of waste that you find. Be sure to be very specific, every form of waste is an opportunity for improvement.
4. Prioritize your list and select forms of waste that can be removed right away. If there are other forms of waste that need analysis place them on a suggestion form or a kaizen paper.
Waste walks are a very easy way to discover waste and develop lean thinking minds. As you begin to walk value streams or areas daily you will learn to see and act on even the most intricate forms of waste. This type of approach drives kaizen (small, incremental) improvements. Whether it's a lean journey or a new year's resolution taking a regular waste walk will certainly add to your lean vision.
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