One of the biggest wastes of time and money in any organization is waste itself. What determines waste you say? Waste is any activity that does not produce positive outcomes for your company, and does not create value for your customers.
In order to eliminate waste, one must review the company's processes and procedures on a continuing basis. A simple walk around the shop can spring up many ideas on how to control waste. The development of a flow chart can really enhance this process. While you're on your "waste reduction walk" ask employees on their thoughts about eliminating waste. Working in the trenches every day gives front line workers a keen view of what needs to be looked at.
Another way of reducing waste is by making your employees more accountable. Make sure that their job description touches on using the right tools and taking the right actions to combat waste. Let the employees know that for every unnecessary action that's taken, a percentage of profit is lost. Appointing designated work cells is a key component in keeping your employees on track. However, none of these concepts will work unless you have a dedicated Management Team spearheading a culture of responsible change.
One cannot change what one cannot measure. For this reason, it is very important to implement a set of meaningful metrics. The metrics need to be narrowly focused and easy to understand. The organization needs to be separated into teams to analyze specific areas of the production process. Team leaders will process the information and evaluate the results. Only then, will managers have a clear understanding of what to do to eliminate wasteful practices.
This is just the start in creating a multifaceted Kaizen event that will make your business more responsible and profitable. Remember, waste reduction is an ongoing and changing process and those companies that invest time and effort into these processes will reap the rewards for years to come.